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Favorite settles for fourth

8/20/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Ivan Brugnetti of Italy pulled away over
the final 2,000 meters Friday to win the Olympic gold medal in the
men's 20-kilometer walk.

Brugnetti won in a personal-best 1 hour, 19 minutes, 39 seconds,
finishing five seconds ahead of silver medalist Francisco Fernandez of
Spain. Nathan Deakes of Australia won the bronze in 1:20.02.

Favorite Jefferson Perez of Ecuador, the event's 2003 world
champion, world holder and 1996 Olympic gold medalist -- was fourth
at 1:20.38.

Brugnetti pumped his right fist in the air as he entered to the
cheers of the half-full Olympic Stadium on the opening day of track
and field competition. He waved his index finger as he neared the
finish line.

When he finished, Brugnetti dropped to his knees and kissed the
track, then hugged Fernandez.

Brugnetti, 27, was in a pack with Fernandez, Deakes and Perez
through 16 kilometers. The Italian and Fernandez remained together
at the 18-kilometer mark, with Deakes just behind and Perez fading.

Fernandez is the 2003 world silver medalist in the event. Deakes
was fourth in the 2001 worlds.