Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
|Venue||Marathon to Athens, Greece|
|Competitors||102 from 59 nations|
|Athletics at the
2004 Summer Olympics
|100 m hurdles||women|
|110 m hurdles||men|
|400 m hurdles||men||women|
|4×100 m relay||men||women|
|4×400 m relay||men||women|
|20 km walk||men||women|
|50 km walk||men|
The men's marathon at the 2004 Summer Olympics took place on August 29 in the streets of Athens, Greece. These streets were recently painted for the event, which provided an excellent road surface for the athletes. Drawing upon the ancient origins of the race, the marathon began in Marathon, Greece, and eventually ended at Panathinaiko Stadium, the venue previously used for the 1896 Athens Olympics.
The 26.2 miles (42.2 km) journey began in Marathon. The top contenders all found themselves in a large leading group that held a modest pace through the half marathon. A few tried to surge ahead but the most successful was Vanderlei De Lima's attack at 20k. Past 25k, Stefano Baldini raised the tempo taking seven others with him. Finally, the chase group had been whittled down to three: Stefano Baldini, Paul Tergat, and Mebrahtom Keflezighi. After 35k was passed, Tergat (the world record holder) cracked, leaving two runners to chase behind. Baldini then closed the gap to De Lima after the latter was attacked while dropping Keflezighi. Baldini moved into the lead and took it home for the gold medal in 2:10:55. Keflezighi caught the fading De Lima as well to take the silver in 2:11:29. Finishing at 2:12:11, De Lima was able to hold off Jon Brown, beating him by 15 seconds for the bronze.
The event was marked by an incident in which Cornelius Horan, an Irish protester, grappled Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil while de Lima was leading the event with around 7 kilometers remaining. Greek spectator Polyvios Kossivas helped Vanderlei free from Horan's grasp and back into his running. De Lima lost about 15 to 20 seconds of time because of the interruption, and finished third in the event with a time of 2:12:11, winning the bronze medal. De Lima was awarded the rarely awarded Pierre de Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship in addition to his bronze. Despite the fact that the incident had seriously hindered his chances of winning the gold or silver medal, he did not complain and graciously acknowledged the crowd's cheers in the home straight. The protester had a sign on his back that read "The Grand Prix Priest. Israel Fulfilment of Prophecy Says The Bible. The Second Coming is Near." He later apologized for possibly costing de Lima the gold.
The phrase "Grand Prix Priest" refers to Horan's previous protest, in which he ran onto the track at the Silverstone Circuit during the 2003 British Grand Prix, intentionally running directly into the path of oncoming cars.
Prior to the competition[update], the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Paul Tergat (KEN)||2:04:55||Berlin, Germany||28 September 2003|
|Olympic record||Carlos Lopes (POR)||2:09:21||Los Angeles, United States||12 August 1984|
No new records were set during the competition.
The qualification period for athletics was 1 January 2003 to 9 August 2004. For the men's marathon, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 2:15:00 or faster during the qualification period. If an NOC had no athletes that qualified under that standard, one athlete that had run the race in 2:18:00 or faster could be entered.
All times are Greece Standard Time (UTC+2)
|Sunday, 29 August 2004||18:00||Final|
- "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's Marathon Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- Clarey, Christopher (29 August 2004). "Summer 2004 Games: Marathon, A Spectator Disrupts The Marathon With a Shove". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Patrick, Dick (30 August 2004). "Italy's Baldini wins men's marathon". USA Today. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Protester ruins marathon". BBC Sport. 29 August 2004. Retrieved 16 October 2015.