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Marathoner Finished Race Despite Assault

Vanderlei Lima went to Athens to do what no other Brazilian had ever done—medal in the Olympic marathon. This marathon was special. The runners would retrace the 2,500-year-old route of Phidipedes, the original marathoner.

As Lima neared the last leg of the race, he was in first place, and throngs of flag-waving spectators cheered him on. It was one of those moments where people of various backgrounds put their differences aside. The joyful celebration turned to bewilderment, however, when an eccentric spectator bolted from the crowd and tackled Lima. The assailant, wearing a red, white, and green kilt, did not injure Lima, but the delay dashed Lima's hopes for a gold medal. In the ensuing chaos, Lima lost 20 minutes and two other runners sped by him to win the gold and silver. Despite the unfortunate incident, Lima did not give up.

Following the race Lima expressed this reaction: "I'm not going to cry forever about the incident, although it broke my concentration, but I managed to finish, and the bronze medal in such a difficult marathon is also a great achievement."

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