posted on Aug, 27 2004 @ 03:18 PM
Osledidys Menendez of Cuba won the gold medal in the women's javelin by a commanding margin, falling just one centimeter short of her world record.
Menendez's best throw was her first one - 234 feet, 8 inches (71.53 meters), shattering the Olympic record of 226 feet, 1 inch (68.91).
Silver medalist Steffi Nerius of Germany was a distant second with 215 feet, 11 inches (65.82). Mirela Manjani of Greece thrilled the home crowd with
a throw of 210 feet, 11 inches (64.29) to take the bronze.
Menendez knew she had won when Nerius final throw fell short, and the 24-year-old Cuban opted not to take a last attempt at the world record. Instead,
she grabbed her country's flag and began a victory lap to celebrate Cuba's third gold medal of the Athens Games.
In 2001, Menendez became the first Cuban woman to hold a track and field world record with a throw of 234 feet, 8 inches (71.54 meters) in Rethymnon,
Greece — the mark that still stands.
Menendez had no significant results on the international scene last year, but she has come back this year to win meets in Cuba, Mexico, Germany,
Greece, Spain and Estonia.
Nerius was fourth in Sydney in 2000 and won the bronze at the world championships last year. The 32-year-old former East German is the daughter of two
Manjani won silver four years ago in Sydney and was the world champion in 1999. Albanian-born, she is the former wife of Greek weightlifting champion
[Edited on 27/8/04 by TRD]