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Athens 2004 - Quick hits


Only one athletics world record was broken at Athens, Russia's pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva clearing 4.91m to little surprise. Promising Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, just 21, equalled the 12.91sec record held by Britain's Colin Jackson over the 110m distance.

Wrong target

Defending gold medallist shooter Matthew Emmons was on target for a second Olympic title when in the last stages of the final the American mistakenly shot at his rival's target, and ended in a deflating 8th position.


The United States basketball team only managed bronze in 2004 with the star-studded NBA side embarrassingly well beaten by Porto Rico, Lithuania and Argentina. The US had won gold in the event in 1992 with the so called 'Dream team' and repeated the feat in 1996 and 2000.


Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Lima was way ahead of the field and 7km from home when a defrocked priest seeking publicity leapt from the crowd and began to push and shove the bewildered athlete. Lima ended the race third after the distraction but was awarded a special medal. The Irish protestor Cornelius Horan was given a suspended prison sentence.


In the equestrian teams three-day event Germany was initially declared winner but it was then ruled that Bettina Hoy had made an illegal start by twice crossing the starting line. Hoy won an appeal but a counter appeal from France stung her with 12 penalty points, handing France the team gold and Britain's Leslie Law the individual women's gold.

Card marked

South Korean Yang Tae-young was denied gold by an American judge who mistakenly gave his final routine a 9.9 start mark when it should have been marked from 10. Had it been marked from 10 he'd have won gold and not bronze. American Paul Hamm was awarded gold, a feat tarnished by bitter acrimony over the judging error that officials failed miserably to clear up.


Some 25 Olympians fell foul of doping laws during the Games, seven of them medallists and 11 of them were weightlifters.

Another fine catch

Birgit Fischer won kayak's K4 500m gold, her eighth gold medal all told, but the German woman missed out on joining the magic club of four Nurmi-Latynina-Spitz-Lewis, who all have nine, when she could only manage silver in the K2 500m.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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