The heartbreaking moment that saw this Olympian become a hero.

She was the favourite to win the women’s 3000m steeplechase, but two-thirds through her heat, disaster struck for Ethiopian runner Etenesh Diro.

She lost her right shoe when another competitor stepped on her heel, causing her to fall to the ground. After trying – and failing – to replace her footwear, she decided there was no time to untie the laces to put her shoe back on.

With only the top three from the heat progressing through to the final, Diro had to continue her run with one bare foot.

These are the Aussie women you need to watch at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Unfortunately, she had fallen too far behind, and despite the crowd roaring their support, the runner placed seventh in the heat.

But here’s where it gets good: three of Diro’s fellow competitors protested the result, claiming that Diro – and two racers from Jamaica and Ireland – had been brought down unfairly. Olympic officials agreed, giving the competitors a place in the final.

Etenesh Diro is now the fan favourite to take our the gold medal in the event, and shoe or no shoe, we think she can do it.

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