Marathon has bizarre ending



An American took second and the leader was tackled 3-miles from the finish.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Everyone knew the marathon was going to be tough, but having to dodge a would-be tackler in a kilt, green beret and matching knee-high socks wasn't an expected obstacle.
It was definitely a bizarre way to end the Olympics. Even the highly unusual fact that an American won a silver medal paled in comparison.
Keflezighi gets second
Italy's Stefano Baldini surged ahead with 2 miles to go and American Meb Keflezighi finished a surprising second Sunday night in a race disrupted by a costumed intruder from Ireland.
With 3 miles remaining, Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil clung to a shrinking lead when he was shoved into the curbside throng by Cornelius Horan, a former priest from Ireland.
Still gets bronze
De Lima was able to get back into the race, but he lost several more seconds and ended up with the bronze medal.
The 29-year-old Keflezighi, who emigrated from the African nation of Eritrea at age 10, is the first American to medal in the men's marathon since Frank Shorter's silver in 1976. Deena Kastor won the bronze in the women's marathon a week ago, marking the first time the United States had won two medals in the 26.2-mile race at the same Olympics.
"USA running is back," Keflezighi said. "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Coming in I was not a favorite, I'm just very happy to win a silver."
Drew big cheers
De Lima drew big cheers from the crowd at the finish line into marble, horseshoe-shaped Panathinaiko Stadium that was the site of the first modern Olympics 108 years ago. He smiled broadly, spread his arms like wings and weaved from side to side as he crossed the line.
Later, he said Horan cost him a shot at the gold.
"When I saw the man who was jumping on me I was scared, because I didn't know what could happen to me, whether he was armed with a knife, a revolver or something and whether he was going to kill me," de Lima said.
"If you stop in a marathon, you struggle the next 3 or 4 kilometers. It's hard to get your rhythm back," he said. "I don't know if I would have won, but things would have been different."
A protest filed by the Brazilian track federation asking that de Lima be given a duplicate gold was denied by the International Association of Athletics Federations. Brazil said it would appeal that decision to the independent Court of Arbitration for Sport, whose decision would be final.
Gets "fair play" medal
The International Olympic Committee said it would present de Lima with the Pierre de Coubertin medal in recognition of his "exceptional demonstration of fair play and Olympic values."
Baldini finished in 2 hours, 10 minutes, 54 seconds. He waved his hands in celebration, then dropped to his knees in exhaustion after his final lap on the narrow track inside the stadium. The 33-year-old Italian is the former European marathon champion and two-time world marathon silver medalist.
Keflezighi, the American record holder at 10,000 meters, showed little emotion at the finish, crossing himself and putting up a No. 1 sign with his finger. Baldini was lying on his back nearby, and Keflezighi bent over him in congratulations.
He ran a personal-best 2:11.29, 34 seconds behind the winner. De Lima finished in 2:12.11.

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