Robert Harting was born in 1984 in Cottbus, Germany. He began competing in senior-level discus events in 2006. He won his first gold medal at the Berlin 2009 World Championships, and won several other titles before qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. There, he won the discus gold medal, tore open his shirt, and ran a hurdling lap around the track, earning the nickname "Incredible Hulk."
Robert Harting was born on October 18, 1984 in Cottbus, Germany. He is one of two sons born to Bettina and Gerd Harting. Harting's family had little money, and he left home at age 15, along with his brother, Christoph, who is also a discus thrower.
Harting first began participating in sports at age 13. He was competing in junior division discus by 2001, and won a silver medal at the 2001 World Youth Championships. In 2006, he moved on to senior-level competition, and after taking home silver and bronze in several competitions, he won his first gold medal at the Berlin 2009 World Championships. He took home the award again in 2011.
In 2010, Harting set a record at the 2010 European Team Championships, with a throw of 66.80 meters, and took home a silver medal. That same year, he won the gold at the Continental Cup in Split, Croatia. He then threw his personal best in 2012, at the Hallesche Werfertage Meeting, clearing 70 meters for the first time with a throw of 70.31 meters, and went on to win the 2012 European Championships in Helsinki.
Harting made his Olympic debut in 2012, at the Summer Olympic Games in London. He got off to a tough start, distracted in the first round and fouling in the second, but came back to win the gold medal with a 68.27-meter (223.98 feet) throw. After his win, he tore off his shirt, donned a German flag like a cape, and took a 100-meter hurdling lap around the track. He cleared nearly all of the hurdles, and then attempted to take one of the Olympic flames. For his after-performance, Harting earned the nickname "Incredible Hulk."
Harting's gold medal at the 2012 Olympics marked his 29th consecutive win.
Harting, 6'7" tall, is known for ripping off his shirt after major victories. In addition to his "Incredible Hulk" nickname, German fans sometime call him "Lord of the Rings," referring to the circle from which the discus is thrown.
Harting's coach, Werner Goldmann, has called Harting's personality "difficult," while noting that a tough personality is usually a characteristic of successful athletes.
In addition to discuss throwing, Harting is interested in art and commercial-making, and anticipates starting a career in advertising some day.
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