posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 09:45 AM
Athanasia Tsoumeleka of Greece pulled off a surprising victory in front of her adoring home country fans on Monday, winning the gold medal in the
The 22-year-old held off Olimpiada Ivanova of Russia to win in a personal best of 1 hour, 29 minutes, 12 seconds. Ivanova, the event's 2001 world
champion and former world record holder, finished four seconds behind Tsoumeleka to win the silver.
Jane Saville of Australia, disqualified after leading as she approached the stadium in Sydney four years ago, took the bronze in 1:29.25.
Ivanova tried to pass Tsoumeleka just outside the stadium, pulling almost even, but fell back.
The sparse crowd gathered for the morning session erupted in cheers as the 5-foot, 2-inch Greek entered Olympic Stadium. After crossing the finish
line, she grabbed a Greek flag and paraded around with it.
Tsoumeleka, who was seventh at last year's world championships, knelt down with the flag over her shoulder and kissed the track. As she rounded the
track in a victory celebration, she received a big hug from Greek decathlete Prodromos Korkizoglu, who was preparing to compete in the long jump
portion of his event.