OLYMPIC GAMES: No reward for Holmes' bravery

Norman Fox on the British also-ran who deserved more than a badge of courage

The British Olympic camp here yesterday was full of praise and admiration for someone who finished next to last in her final. Kelly Holmes ran, and for a while led, the women's 1500 metres knowing that at any moment a bone above her ankle could snap.

She bravely set the pace early on but mainly that was to avoid any accidents. The team doctor, Malcolm Brown, said: "She's one of the bravest girls in the world to run six races with a stress fracture. She was told the risk which was that if she had an injury during the final the bone could break, but we left the decision to her. She had some local anaesthetic before the race and needed painkillers afterwards."

Roger Black, Britain's 400m silver medal winner, said: "Believe me that girl has gone through a lot of pain every time she's run."

Holmes crossed the line almost at a walking pace after understandably losing touch with the eventual winner, Svetlana Masterkova of Russia, who thus achieved the 1500 and 800 double. As Holmes left the stadium she was in tears and walking on crutches. Brown said no operation was possible for the injury but that after rest she should be able to start running again in six to eight weeks. In other words, what had been a genuine chance of winning a medal here has gone and her season is over.

Masterkova won with a searing last lap of just over a minute but she was fortunate that three of the favourites were missing, Sonia O'Sullivan and Maria Mutola having withdrawn and the defending champion, Hassiba Boulmerka, failing to qualify. She was gracious enough to say later: "I realise that it was not quite the final that should have been for an Olympic Games."

Romania's Gabriela Szabo, only 20, could not believe she won the silver medal. She had failed to qualify for the final of her stronger event, the 5,000m.

A moment of misfortune for potentially his most dangerous rival brought the three-times world champion and world record holder, Noureddine Morceli, the 1500m gold, and he knew it. When Hicham El Guerrouj trod on Morceli's heel in mid-race, the Algerian glanced back, saw the Moroccan fall and took off. He had been avoiding racing against the highly promising 20- year-old for most of the summer.

In the moment of chaos all of the other likely medal winners had to take avoiding action, allowing Morceli to ease away despite considerable pain from his spiked heel. Fermin Cacho, of Spain, leapt surprisingly elegantly and cleared El Guerrouj but there was no chance of catching Morceli, who won in 3min 35.78sec,slower than his preliminary round race.

For Morceli the victory brought compensation for finishing only seventh in Barcelona four years before. "I can forget that now," he said. "It was an easier race than I expected. I was a little lucky."

The injury to his Achilles tendon is not serious and he should be ready to race in Zurich on 14 August, as will Michael Johnson, whose tendon strain is also not considered serious.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
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: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?