False starts end Christie's golden dream

In front of all great women, there is a man holding them back
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The Independent Online
Linford Christie's defence of his Olympic 100m title ended in the most frustrating way imaginable when he was disqualified from the final after two false starts early yesterday morning, and Canada's Donovan Bailey took the gold medal in a world record time of 9.84sec.

Christie initially refused to accept the decision, remaining by his blocks until, football-style, he was shown the red card by the tournament referee. Bailey, the world champion, took full advantage of the situation, edging the two favourites, Frankie Fredricks of Namibia and Ato Boldon of Trinidad, into second and third places.

After the distraught Christie had had time to recover, he said: "I'm feeling pretty rotten but I can't go around moping. I have a responsibility as team captain. I can't let how I feel reflect on anyone else. I also have the 200m to go for and you can bet your bottom dollar I will be giving it my best shot."

The first positive drugs tests emerged from Atlanta yesterday. The disqualification of Andrei Korneyev, the 200m breaststroke bronze medallist, led to a belated medal for Britain's Nick Gillingham, who had finished fourth in the final. Korneyev's fellow Russian Zafar Gulyov, a bronze medallist in the 48kg category of the Greco-Roman wrestling, was also disqualified along with a Lithuanian cyclist, Rita Raznaite. Traces of the banned stimulant bromantan were found in all three.

Jonathan Edwards, Britain's best hope for an athletics gold medal, had to settle for silver in the triple jump after the American Kenny Harrison set an Olympic record of 18.09m. Edwards, the world record holder and the only other man to have jumped further than 18m, managed a season's best 17.88m. Edwards, a deeply religious man, said: "Silver may seem like failure, but to me it was a great success. I am chuffed to bits. I have come out of this with something better than gold. I have come out of it a better person and with a better relationship with God."

Earlier Harrison's girlfriend, Gail Devers, narrowly retained her 100m title as she and Merlene Ottey of Jamaica were both given times of 10.94. The times were then broken down further and the American was given the gold by five thousandths of a second.

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