Favorite settles for fourth

Updated: August 20, 2004, 7:17 AM ET
Associated Press

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.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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