Christie misses chance to settle Olympic score

Athletics

In what was possibly, even probably, his last appearance on this fabled track, Linford Christie encountered neither triumph nor disaster last night - but something in between.

The man whose defence of the Olympic title ended with two false starts two weeks ago did not handicap himself in similar fashion. However, a third consecutive win at the Zurich Grand Prix proved beyond him. This was the 36-year-old's biggest opportunity to set the record straight against the men who had claimed the Atlanta booty. Against a field that included the gold and bronze medallists, Christie was third behind the winner, Dennis Mitchell of the United States. He recorded the same time - 10.06sec - as the second-placed runner, the world and Olympic champion Donovan Bailey.

Zurich has been Christie's special hunting ground in recent times. Two years ago, in torrential rain, he beat the best Americans. Last season he proved a point again by beating Bailey after the Canadian had taken over his world title. On both occasions Christie was jubilant, firing imaginary pistols into a crowd which chanted his name, football-style. Last night the guns were silent.

Christie, who was not sure of where he had placed until he consulted the TV monitor beyond the finish line, was a sombre figure afterwards. Would victory here have done something to efface the memory of Atlanta? He wrinkled up his face and shook his head. "Not really. Even if I had won, the Olympics are the Olympics. And they have gone."

Zurich experienced the 20th world record in its history after another astonishing performance by the woman who can now claim to be the world's leading middle-distance runner. Svetlana Masterkova, Russia's double Olympic champion, reduced Paula Ivan's seven-year-old mark for the mile of 4min 15.61sec, finishing 25m clear of the pack in 4:12.57.

Remarkably, the 28-year-old Russian had never run a mile race before last night. It was a fine season's finale for Masterkova, who was the surprise winner of the Olympic 800 and 1500m. Masterkova, who speaks fluent Spanish and has a home near Alicante, only returned to the international circuit this season after giving birth to a daughter, Anastasia, last year.

Jonathan Edwards was still unable to recapture the form which brought him the world triple jump title and world record last season. But a final- round jump of 17.79m assured him of victory over the man who took gold to his silver in Atlanta last month, Kenny Harrison. The American managed only two counting jumps, the best of them 17.23m.

The women's 100m produced a moment of ironic confusion. In the aftermath of a close finish involving Merlene Ottey, Gwen Torrence and Gail Devers, the winner's bouquet was handed to Devers. The decision was hardly surprising, given Devers's history of winning close calls between herself and Ottey: the 36-year-old Jamaican had lost out to Devers over 100m on two crucial occasions - the 1993 World Championships, where the American was adjudged winner by 0.001sec, and last month's Olympic final, where Devers won by the twist of a shoulder despite a protest from the Jamaicans. When the announcement went up that Ottey had got the verdict - 10.95sec to Torrence's 10.96 and Devers's 11.00 - the American was briefly bemused before delivering the flowers to their rightful destination.

Samuel Komen, the 20-year-old Kenyan who missed the world 3,000m record by 0.05sec in Monaco on Saturday, came close to another last night. Komen, who did not qualify for the Olympics, won the 5,000m in 12min 45.10sec, 0.71sec outside the world record held by Haile Gebrselassie, set on the same track last year. The Ethiopian was left 25m adrift.

Any hopes that Roger Black might have had of improving his British 400m record of 44.37sec disappeared in the wake of Anthuan Maybank, the American who had headed him home in the Olympic relay final. Maybank won last night in 44.18. Black finished fourth in 44.83.

Colin Jackson's melancholy season shows no sign of improving. Britain's 110m hurdles world record holder, diminished by tendinitis in his knee, was just a blur among the also-rans last night. But there was something of a turn-up as the Olympic champion, Allen Johnson, behind whom Jackson finished fourth in Atlanta, was beaten by his fellow American Jack Pierce in 13.22sec.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world