<
>

Intruder fined, receives suspended sentence

9/2/2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Brazilian sports officials blamed
inadequate course security for a defrocked priest's bizarre attack
on the Olympic marathon leader, and said Monday they will appeal to
world track authorities for a duplicate gold medal.

The criticism of Athens Olympic organizers, who have been
praised for their overall security, came as former priest Cornelius
Horan was given a one-year suspended sentence. Horan also was fined
$3,600 and warned to stay out of trouble in Greece for the next
three years.

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic
Committee, said marathoner Vanderlei de Lima should have been
better guarded as he ran ahead of the field with about three miles
to go Sunday night on the closing day of the Olympics. Horan jumped
from the crowd and grabbed de Lima, knocking him into roadside
spectators. De Lima continued running, but soon lost his lead and
finished third.

"It's a big mistake. The moment you have a leader, you need to
have two motorcycles together protecting him," Nuzman said. "The
athlete cannot pay for such a mistake."

Athens Olympic organizers could not immediately be reached for
comment.

Roberto Gesta de Melo, head of the Brazilian track federation,
said an appeal will be filed in about a week with the International
Association of Athletics Federations seeking a gold medal for de
Lima. An IAAF race jury rejected a similar appeal Sunday night,
saying it sympathized with the Brazilian but could not change the
result.

"It's something not usual, of course, but some decisions have
been done like that before," de Melo said, referring to the
request for a duplicate gold medal. "I think it would be a gesture
of fair play."

Brazilian officials emphasized they have no intention of taking
medals away from champion Stefano Baldini of Italy or runner-up Meb
Keflezighi of the United States. They said they will appeal to the
Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport if the IAAF does not
agree to the second gold medal.

Horan has a history of disrupting sports events and was
convicted by a three-member misdemeanor court of violating Greece's
laws on extracurricular sports, which usually are used for soccer
hooligans. He was expected to return home to London.

Horan, 57, was wearing a green beret, red kilt and knee-high
green socks when he pushed de Lima. The former priest had a piece
of paper attached to his back bearing the message: "The Grand Prix
Priest Israel Fulfillment of Prophecy Says the Bible."

Horan, in a costume similar to Sunday's, ran onto the track at
the British Grand Prix last year and stayed there for more than 20
seconds, forcing Formula One racers traveling at more than 200 mph
to swerve around him. He was carrying a sign that said: "Read the
Bible -- the Bible is always right."

British authorities said Horan also attempted a protest on
Wimbledon's center court during a rain break, and tried to disrupt
cricket and rugby matches.

De Lima said he might have won the gold medal if Horan hadn't
grabbed him. Though the Brazilian harbors no resentment toward
Horan, he said the suspended sentence may not be enough to deter
the former priest from future antics.

"This means he will probably do this again and get killed, as
in Formula One, or kill someone," de Lima said.