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.

Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test