A track athlete faked an injury to his hamstring to surprise his worried girlfriend with a proposal.
In footage from PEOPLE’s video series, The Upbeat, in association with Citi, James Bryant is seen finishing up a 200m dash around his school’s track in Indianapolis, Indiana, earlier this year. Just as he crosses the finish line, Bryant grabs on to his hamstring before falling to the ground, prompting track officials to quickly call for training staff to come to his aid.
Bryant’s girlfriend, Audrey Duncan, is none the wiser that everything happening from that point on was strategically planned by her boyfriend, and that a life-changing moment was about to happen.
“Faking the injury was going to be an excuse for Audrey to be allowed on to the track,” Bryant says. “Normally people are not just allowed onto the track or field. So, after getting the okay from my coach, I then went up to the press box where the announcer was and told him what my plan was.”
Duncan then walks over to her injured boyfriend and offers him water and a blanket as he continues to grab his leg. What she didn’t see was Bryant’s friend, Taylor, hand him a box with a wedding ring inside, which he quickly stashed under his jersey and kept concealed with the help of the blanket.
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“She knew that there were people around that were there to help me,” Bryant says, “but she was so focused on me and worried about me that she did not notice anyone else around or the cameras.”
As Duncan rises to his knee and shows the engagement ring to Duncan, she takes a few steps back in surprise and then bursts into tears. Hilariously, Duncan—who is still concerned about her boyfriend’s pseudo-injury—asks Bryant, “Are you really hurt?” as he stands to give her a hug and kiss, showing her he is better than ever.
“A million emotions rushed through my head at the same time. A mixture of joy, concern, and why the heck did he just throw the blanket off when I just gave it to him,” Duncan says, before adding that she felt like the luckiest girl in the world when she realized what was happening.