Shalane Flanagan Takes Unbelievable Bronze in Women’s 10K; Cantwell Takes Silver

Flanagan scores unbelievable bronze; Cantwell takes silver

– It was anything but easy for either athlete, but Shalane Flanagan
(Pittsboro, N.C.) overcame incredible odds to take bronze in the
greatest women’s 10,000m in history, and Christian Cantwell (Columbia,
Mo.) persevered to win his first career Olympic medal, a silver in the
men’s shot put, Friday evening at the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium.

Astounding bronze for Flanagan

American record holder in the 10,000 and 5,000m, Flanagan had endured
six hours of intense gastrointestinal distress, in the form of vomiting
and diarrhea, Tuesday evening at Team USA training camp in Dalian,
China. She continued to have gastrointestinal problems while working
out for the next two days, and at one point her participation in
Friday’s 10,000 was up in the air. But Flanagan gave it a go, and was
part of history as a result.

Lornah Kiplagat of
the Netherlands led practically from the gun, towing a lead group of 18
runners – including Americans Flanagan and Kara Goucher (Portland,
Ore.) through 71-second and then 73-second laps. Kiplagat covered the
first km in 3:00, the second in 3:00, the third in 3:04 and the fourth
in 3:03. A lead pack of 15 passed 5 km in 15:09.98 with little change
in the race. Flanagan sat in eighth and Goucher in 11th as Amy Yoder-Begley (Portland, Ore.) was approximately 175m back from the leaders.

past 6 km, covered in 19:13.5, Kiplagat, Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey
and Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia began trading the lead. Linet
Chepkwemoi Masai of Kenya moved up to third as Kiplagat began to drop
back, with Lucy Kabuu Wangui of Kenya fourth to round out the lead
pack. Flanagan moved up to fifth as 7 km was covered by the leaders in
21:14.46 and 8 km in 24:09.40. The pace was dropping rapidly, leaving
Abeylegesse and Dibaba to duke it out for gold as they hit 9 km in

With three laps to go, Flanagan moved up
to fourth and was gaining on Masai, who approximately half a second
ahead of the American record holder. Flanagan passed with 800m go to
and looked all but assured of bronze.

Ahead of
Flanagan, history was being made. In a furious final 400, Dibaba was
first to the finish in 29:54.66, setting an Olympic record and becoming
only the second woman to dip under 30:00 for the 10,000. Abeylegesse
was second in an area record 29:56.32, with Flanagan next across in an
American-record time of 30:22.22, breaking her own mark of 30:35.34 set
in her 10 km debut earlier this year and becoming the second American
woman ever to medal in this event at the Games. Lynn Jennings also won
bronze in 1992. Masai was fourth in a world junior and Kenyan national
record of 30:26.50. Goucher ended 10th in a personal-best 30:55.16, with Yoder-Begley 26th in 32:38.28.

on the heels of Goucher’s bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships
in Osaka, Flanagan’s performance marked the second consecutive major
international championship in which an American has won a medal in the
women’s 10,000.

Cantwell comes through

shot was much more dramatic than anticipated for opposite reasons, with
early throwing keeping the Americans on the edge of their seats. After
three rounds, the field of 12 was cut down with only the top eight
throwers continuing. After two rounds, world indoor champion Christian
Cantwell (Columbia, Mo.) sat in second with 20.98m/68-10, but world
outdoor champion Reese Hoffa was 10th at 19.81m/65-0. Hoffa moved to an
eventual seventh with a third-round toss of 20.53m/67-8.25, while
Cantwell dropped to third, but both men made the cut.

with a rib injury, two-time silver medalist Adam Nelson
(Charlottesville, Va.) fouled on all of his first three attempts – the
first two throws landing outside the left side of the sector, and his
third throw a foot foul. He did not make the final cut.

the meantime, Tomas Majewski of Poland, who had a personal best in the
qualifying round, set new personal bests several more times during the
first four rounds of the final, including a fourth-round throw of
21.51m/70-7, to sit in first place. Cantwell was bumped to fifth place
with Hoffa remaining in seventh after four rounds.

never improved on his 19.81m and remained in seventh, but Cantwell
saved his best throw for last, a mark of 21.09m/69-2.5, to move from
fifth to second in the sixth and final round of throwing. Majewski
remained in the gold-medal position, while Andrei Mikhnevich of Belarus
was third with 21.05m/69-0.75.

Fountain comes back in heptathlon

Fountain (Kettering, Ohio) entered evening competition in first place
in the heptathlon, after two morning events. After the third event of
the day, the shot put, Fountain fell from first to second with a best
toss of 13.36m/43-10. Natalia Dobrynska of Ukraine broke the world
record for the heptathlon shot with her throw of 17.29m/56-8.75,
breaking the WR of 17.03m/55-10.5.

But Fountain
came back strong in the day’s last event, the 200m, posting a big
personal best of 23.21 in the 200 (1058) to retake the lead with 4,060
points. Dobrynska was in second overall with 3,996. Jacquelyn Johnson
(Tempe, Ariz.) was in 22nd place with 3592 points after marks of 11.82m/38-9.5 in the shot put (649) and 24.74 in the 200 (911).

Two advance in women’s discus, steeplechase

Brown-Trafton (Galt, Calif.) had the best mark in Group A of the
women’s discus qualifying round with a third-attempt mark of
62.77m/205-11, and Team USA captain Aretha Thurmond (Federal Way,
Wash.) automatically advanced from Group B with a mark of 61.90m/203-1,
as two Americans made the final. Suzy Powell-Roos (Modesto, Calif.) had
a best of 58.02m/190-4 and did not make the cut.

the semifinal round of the women’s steeplechase, American record holder
Jenny Barringer (Boulder, Colo.) was third in heat 2 in 9:29.20 to
automatically advance to Sunday’s final, while Anna Willard (Ann Arbor,
Mich.) qualified on time by placing sixth in the heat 3 in 9:28.52.
Lindsey Anderson (Ogden, Utah) was eighth in heat 1 in 9:36.81 and will
not compete in the final.

Moving to semis

three U.S. men’s 1,500m runners advanced to compete in Sunday’s
semifinal round. With the top five finishers in each heat and the next
four fastest men advancing, world champion Bernard Lagat (Tucson,
Ariz.) made it by placing fourth in the second heat in 3:41.98, and
Lopez Lomong (Colorado Springs, Colo.) did so by placing fifth in heat
3 in 3:36.70. NCAA champ Leonel Manzano (Austin, Texas) was in the
quickest heat of the night, the first, and was sixth in 3:36.67,
advancing as the second-fastest non-automatic qualifier.

three men’s 100m runners moved to Saturday’s semifinal round by taking
second in their respective heats. Tyson Gay (Lexington, Ky.) was second
in heat 2 in 10.09, Darvis Patton (Ft. Worth, Texas) was second in heat
4 in 10.04, and Walter Dix (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was second in heat 5
in 10.08.

The men’s 400m hurdles quarterfinal
round was a qualification sweep, with2005 world champ Bershawn Jackson
(Raleigh, N.C.) winning heat 1 in 49.20, 2000 Olympic gold medalist
Angelo Taylor (Decatur, Ga.) winning heat 2 in 48.67, and world
champion Kerron Clement (Los Angeles, Calif.) taking the third heat in

The women’s triple jumpers found less
success in their qualifying round. Struggling with an injured
hamstring, Erica McLain (Plano, Texas) was 26th in qualifying with a mark of 13.52m/44-4.25, and Shani Marks (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) was 28th with 13.44m/44-1.25.

more information on Team USA at the Olympic Games, including athlete
quotes, event schedule, TV schedule and complete results, visit

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