Smith takes the leap with Olympian proposal
A Bermudian Olympic long jump hero struck gold when he made a surprise proposal to his girlfriend at a major athletics competition in Switzerland.
Tyrone Smith popped the question to Sandi Morris, who won silver for the United States in the pole vault at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, at the Diamond League event in Zurich — and was thrilled when she said yes.
He said: “She was floored. She thought just me being there was the surprise.
“We had talked about it, but she had no idea it was happening.”
Mr Smith, 34, was speaking after the proposal last Thursday made international headlines and sparked thousands of comments on the couple's social-media pages.
He said he came up with the plan to ask Ms Morris, 26, to marry him at the Diamond League finals because he wanted the proposal to be special.
He said: “If my season went the way I had hoped, we both would have been competing there.
“One of the special things is when you win there, you get a big diamond trophy and she was right up there in the running.
“I thought even if she didn't win, she would be getting a diamond.”
However, the path of true love never runs smooth and Mr Smith said he hit some obstacles on the way.
He explained, security at the event was tight and he risked arrest if he had tried to get on to the field without authorisation.
Mr Smith said Ms Morris's agent helped him to get tickets and accreditation in secret.
He added: “My idea was to go down on the field and do it on camera, but because it's the Diamond League finals, everything was planned to the second and it wouldn't be possible.”
Mr Smith added: “They told me if I jumped the fence, they would tackle me and arrest me.
“I was still considering it, but my agent told me not to get arrested.”
He said he had flown to Switzerland without Ms Morris's knowledge and surprised her at the door of her hotel, but did not mention his ultimate plan.
Mr Smith enlisted the help of a member of the arena's security staff as well to help him make a trackside proposal from the right side of the barriers.
He said: “I asked her if she would slide her chair over next to Sandi when I was talking to her. That way she could stand on it and I could go on one knee.
“I wasn't nervous about it at all. We had talked about it, and I think being an athlete and having competed on these big stages, that takes away the nerves.”
The couple met in 2015 through athletics events and began to date around two years ago.
Mr Smith said he was stunned at the level of interest the proposal got around the world.
He said: “It has been crazy. I assumed there would be some love from the track and field community because we have so many friends, but her post in Instagram received about 21,000 likes, which is more than her post about winning her Olympic medal.
“NBC Sports put up a blurb about it, which was crazy. I had friends taking pictures of their TV and sending them to us.”
Ms Morris wrote later on Twitter: “I may have gotten second in the Diamond League, but I'm going home with a REAL diamond and the most amazing man I've ever met.”
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