Athens Olympics 2004 - Men's Marathon - Post-Race Quotes
The Race - As It Happened
Men's Olympic Marathon Starting List
Quotes from Stefano Baldini, Mebrahtom Keflezighi, Vanderlei de Lima and Paul Tergat
Stefano BALDINI (ITA) - Gold medallist
On how he felt crossing the finish line:
"It was an unbelievable sensation because Panathinaiko is the story of the marathon, so it's a fantastic feeling. It is unbelievable for me."
On whether he thought he could catch DE LIMA (BRA) who was in front by almost one minute:
"It was no problem because I knew that I had the strength over the last four to five kilometres. I knew I had the finish."
On any difficulties faced out on the course:
"The problem is the weather, not the course. I like this kind of uphill and downhill course. It suits me."
On if he thinks he would have won even if LIMA hadn't been attacked:
"Yes. I believe I would have won anyway. I would have caught him 1km later, but I would have caught him up. When the incident happened, I was running at a rhythm 20 seconds faster than he was".
On if he objects to the thought that LIMA should receive a second gold medal:
"This is a problem for the organising commitee and not me. I ran my race".
On why he was so excited at the medal ceremony:
"It was the last ceremony for the 2004 Olympic Games. And it was good for Italy, because we closed the games with a gold medal. I was very happy".
On if he knows who was Spirodon Louis:
"Yes I know who he was. This is not a common gold olympic medal. This is a legend medal at this Olympic Games. Today we started from the marathon city and we ran the same course as the first Olympic Games. It was very exciting and at the last kilometre I was with so many people on the road, I felt like Spirodon Louis".
Mebrahtom KEFLEZIGHI (USA)- silver medallist
On winning silver:
"I came to do what I did. I had a strategy of being up front because there are a lot of good guys out there. I got there and I did it."
On his break:
"I felt good after one hour, 10 minutes, so I thought why not me, why not me?"
On the competition
"I was delighted to get the silver. Finally my hard work paid of. It was my goal for the whole year. It was a great race".
Vanderlei LIMA (BRA) - Bronze medallist
On his performance:
"I trained a lot for this and I'm very happy to win this bronze medal. The race was difficult. If that spectator didn't jump in front of me in the middle of the race, who knows what would have happened. Maybe I would have won. It disturbed me a lot."
"For me it was very difficult because I didn't know what he had with him. I was very afraid. I lost my rhythm and I had to get back to the rhythm on the street and it was very difficult. I could have done better."
On the incident with the fan who attacked him during the race:
It was a surprise for me. I couldn't defend myself. I was concentrating on my race. There was nothing I could do. People of security didn't expect that. I couldn't get back to the way I was before. If you stop at the middle of a marathon race, you run behind. It is too difficult to get back to the rhythm. Nobody expected that. The important thing is that I made it to win a medal not only for me but for my country too".
On if he thinks he would have won if this didn't happen:
"I don't know. Things would have been different. I started to have problems after that, I couldn't concentrate. It was very difficult for me to finish. With my sense of Olympic spirit I showed my determination and won a medal".
On if he blames anyone for that:
"No. I think it was an isolated thing. The Olympic Games were going very well. Thinks were functioning excellent. It could have happened anywhere. It just happened at the marathon race".
On what he thinks must be done so an incident like this will never happen again:
"It's difficult to answer. It's obvious people have to watch the marathon and it is difficult for the security people to make sure that no one gets on the course. I wouldn't want to isolate the public. This would be bad for the event. Athletes need the support. I don't know what the solution might be. But something has to be done to avoid such incidents in the future".
On the appeal the Brazilian team launched:
"Never mind the result of the appeal. I was very happy to win a medal. The moment I'm experiencing now is the result of very hard work. I was well trained and I was expecting to win a medal. I have achieved my goal. No matter what happened, I am happy to be on the medal podium with these athletes".
On what changed from his two other races at Olympic games:
"Atlanta was a different experience. It was my first Olympic Games and I had trouble during the race with my shoes. Two weeks before Sydney I was injured. But my olympic experience helped me in today's race. This time the medal wasn't a surprise to me".
On if he thinks about Beijing:
"The Olympic Games are always very difficult. I'll think of the next games when I leave Athens. I will try to do my best. I will have more experience and faith to myself".
Paul TERGAT (KEN) - 10th place
On his performance:
"I got a stitch at 32 kilometres but I just wanted to finish the race."
- Reported by the Olympics News Service
Also of interest:
--Interactive Chart/Information of past Olympic Marathons