Central Olympic Stadium-Athens 2004 Olympics
The 2004 Olympics took place in Athens, Greece; the track and field events took place from August 18th until August 29th at the Olympic Stadium of Athens also known as Central Olympic Stadium or Spyros Louis.The Olympics returned to its birthplace in Greece To have the Olympics at this stadium they have to add an upgrade to the stadium by adding a roof for its fans and athletes. For the competitive space it has 9 lanes for a 400m track which makes it able to maximize the amount of runners who compete in any given race. Also along with an astounding 6 long jump triples and triple jump pits. The stadium is built to have a maximum fan capacity of 69,618 people each event. There was a record of 201 nations that were invited to participate in this Olympic year that was a record. During this 2004 Olympics there were many memorable moments and athletes. There were two championship finals on the men's side of track that had races with United States runners finishing top 3 in the events. The United States came away with the most gold medals from the Olympics with 25 gold medals in track. We had two athletes double in middle distance and long distance races, a world record in women’s pole vault, and a tie in the 100m hurdles world record. During the 2004 Athens marathon, a marathon runner was attacked by a bystander. A former Irish priest jumped out of the crowd during the marathon and attacked Vanderlei de Lima, he was the leader of the marathon race until Neil Horan attacked him during the 22nd mile of the 26.2 race. Lima lost the lead that he was leading with, at the time it looked pretty clear that he would win gold, but after the attack it gave his competitors time to catch him. Lima finished in 3rd place still.
Backstory and Context
The United States men’s 400m and 200m runners we’re both about to do a clean sweep of medals in both events. Led by Shawn Crawford in the 200m dash who ran a time of 19.79 to win the gold medal. He was quickly followed by silver medalist Benard Williams III with a time of 20.01 and Justin Gatlin 20.03 in third place. It would be the last time the US completes a clean sweep in the 200m as of now.
In the 400m dash the United States completed another clean sweep in the sprinting event. Jermey Wariner who was a favorite to win did win the gold medal with a time of 44.0, just slightly being able to break 44 seconds. Following Jeremy was Otis Harris with a time of 44.16 winning the silver medal. Derrick Brew finished third for the US winning the Bronze medal running a 44.42. For Brew and Harris this would be their last Olympic final appearance and I would say this is a great way to go out.
The men's 110m hurdle race was won by Liu Xiang who tied a world record in the race running 12.91 seconds. Xiang was able to make it clean through all of the hurdles and once he took the lead he never looked back. His technique for clearing the hurdles were near perfect.He won by a wide margin. By winning this race Liu was able to become the first Chinese man to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field.
Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco was able to complete the 1500m/5000m double at the Olympics. Hicham was the first runner since Peter Nurmi to complete the 1500m/5000m in 1924. In the 1500m Hicham edged out Bernard Lagat ahead of the finish line to win gold in a time of 3:34.18 minutes. Days later Hicham ran the 5000m and won that race with a time of 13:14.39 minutes. Hicham was boxed in on the last lap and he was able to run and fight out of that caught the lead runner with 60 meters left to the finish.
Kelly Holmes of Great Britain was 34 years old when she ran in the 2004 Olympics, at that age many people will underestimate because of your age. She did not let that stop from competing at the highest of levels in Athens. Holmes pulled off the Olympic double in middle distance by winning the 1500m and 800m race. Holmes stuck to her racing plan and did not go out with the pack in the early stages of the race. Holmes held back in both the 800m and eventually won gold as the race went on running 1:56.38 minutes, becoming the oldest 800m champion. Days later Holmes would use the same reserved racing strategy in the 1500m and out kick everyone else and became the oldest 1500m champion running 3:57.90 minutes.
To close out this great Olympic games in Athens we saw a world record in the field side of track and field. Yelena Insinbayeva of Russia broke the world record in Pole Vault twice. Yelena vaulted 4.90m then went back again for another vault and vaulted 4.91m. Joanna Hayes in her only Olympic performance set an Olympic record for the 100m hurdles. She ran 12.37 seconds which at the time was an Olympic record.
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- Branch, J. (2016, August 7). He Tackled Vanderlei de Lima, Then Fumed During Caldron Lighting. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/07/sports/olympics/vanderlei-de-lima-goes-from-an-indignity-to-an-illumination.html
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