In his quarter-final, against Frenchman V. Savrin, Pearce not only set an Olympic record of 7 min 42.8 seconds, but, according to one Dutch newspaper, he also won the goodwill of the children of Amsterdam. He did this with one spontaneous gesture of grace under pressure: he pulled up mid-race to allow a duck, followed by a small flotilla of ducklings, to cross the course, to the delight of the onlookers, mostly children.

In his quarter-final, against Frenchman V. Savrin, Pearce not only set an Olympic record of 7 min 42.8 seconds, but, according to one Dutch newspaper, he also won the goodwill of the children of Amsterdam. He did this with one spontaneous gesture of grace under pressure: he pulled up mid-race to allow a duck, followed by a small flotilla of ducklings, to cross the course, to the delight of the onlookers, mostly children.

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