Marathon Marred on Final Day of Competition | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 03.09.2004
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Marathon Marred on Final Day of Competition

Brazil's Vanderlei Lima was attacked by a protester, leading Italy's Stefano Baldini to be crowned winner of the men's marathon. Cuba dominated boxing, picking up three more golds, and Germany lost in men's handball.


It wasn't until the end of the race that the real controversy began

One of the most popular events at the Olympics -- the men's marathon -- was marred shortly before the finish when a defrocked Irish priest in an orange kilt and green beret leapt out of the crowd to push aside the leading runner -- Brazil's Vanderlei de Lima. Lima stumbled back into the race, clutching his leg. But the incident gave Italy's Stefano Baldini a chance to take the lead, and -- minutes later -- the gold medal with a new record time of two hours, 10 minutes and 54 seconds. Mebrahtom Keflezighi of the US took silver, while Lima finished with bronze -- and a huge cheer of support from the crowds in the stadium. The Irishman, 57-year-old Cornelius Horan, was arrested immediately. He has been arrested before for disturbing sports events.

"I was scared, because I didn't know what could happen to me, whether he was armed with a knife, revolver or something and whether he was going to kill me," Lima said after the race. "That's what cost me the gold medal."

Silver for German handballers

Deutsche Handballer im Finale

Germany's handball team won silver

For Germany, the final day ended with a disappointment for the men's handball team. They were hoping for gold on Sunday in their match against world champion Croatia, but had to settle for silver instead. Croatia continued its unbeaten streak in Athens with a 26-24 victory over Germany, who were playing without one of their most experienced players, left back Pascal Hens. He was injured in a group phase match against France last Sunday. The Germans won the first half of the match 12-11, but Croatia slowly pulled ahead in the middle of the second half. While down 23-21, Germany made a fatal error, turning the ball over on a bad pass, which led to a Croatian goal. In the bronze medal match on Saturday, Russia defeated Hungary 28-26.

Overall, the German Olympic team surpassed its performance at Sydney four years ago, winning a total of 48 medals, including 14 gold. Germany's top performers at the Games were the canoe and kayak athletes, especially 42-year-old Birgit Fischer, who came out of retirement a year before the Games to win her eighth Olympic gold. The German equestrian team also delivered stellar performances, winning team and individual gold medals, only to have them taken away after much back and forth due to an organizational error, and a successful appeal to the highest sports body, CAS, by France, Britain and the United States.

More doping charges

Doping, Urinproben

Some athletes just can't say no

The Athens Games have earned a reputation for being one of the toughest when it comes to cracking down on banned substances, and the final day was no exception. Two more Olympic medals were taken away on Sunday when Hungarian hammer throw champion Adrian Annus was stripped of his gold for failing to take a follow-up doping test. His was the third gold medal to be returned in Athens. Colombian cyclist Maria Luisa Calle Williams also lost her bronze in the points race after testing positive for a stimulant, taking the total number of athletes stripped of their medals to seven.


Cuba proved to be the dominant country in the Olympic boxing events with a total of six gold medals. On Sunday, Yan Bhartelemy Varela swept to victory in the light flyweight final, beating Turkey's Atagun Yalcinkaya 21-16. Varela's team-mate Guillermo Rigondeaux followed up with a 22-13 win over Thailand's Worapoj Petchkoom to take bantamweight gold. Completing Cuba's hat-trick on Sunday, three-times champion Mario Kindelan beat 17-year-old British boxing sensation Amir Khan in the lightweight final.


Turner Igor Cassina

It's not all just dancing around

Russia's Alina Kabaeva put a doping controversy behind her on Sunday when she won the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-round gold medal. At the 2001 world championships, Kabaeva won four of five events but was stripped of those medals and suspended for a year after testing positive for a diuretic. The 21-year-old clinched her comeback in Athens when she performed a near flawless hoop routine -- her weakest of the four rotations -- to place second and position herself for the final three. She placed first in the ball, clubs and ribbon events. Team-mate Irina Tchachina took the silver and Ukraine's Anna Bessonova took bronze.


World champions Brazil beat rival Italy to win the gold medal in men's volleyball on Sunday. Brazil, who were unbeaten throughout the tournament, triumphed 25-15 24-26 25-20 25-22 with Gilberto Godoy Filho contributing 20 points. Brazil has been a dominant force in international competition over the past decade, but this was its first medal since a gold in 1992. Earlier on Sunday, three-times former Olympic champions Russia beat the United States to take the bronze medal.

Water polo


Are you guys on my team?

Hungary came from behind to win the gold medal in Olympic men's water polo on Sunday, beating Serbia and Montenegro 8-7. The win gave Hungary its eighth Olympic title since 1932. Their victory was largely due to the efforts of Gergely Kiss, who scored four times. In the bronze medal match, also played on Sunday, Russia beat host nation Greece 6-5.