ATHENS -- Brazilian sports officials blamed inadequate security for a defrocked priest's bizarre attack on the Olympic marathon leader, and said yesterday they will appeal to world track authorities for a duplicate gold medal.
The criticism of Athens Olympic organizers, who have been praised for their overall security, came as former priest Cornelius Horan was given a one-year suspended sentence. Horan also was fined $3,600 and warned to stay out of trouble in Greece for the next three years.
Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, said marathoner Vanderlei de Lima should have been better guarded as he ran ahead of the field with about three miles to go Sunday night on the closing day of the Olympics. Horan jumped from the crowd and grabbed de Lima, knocking him into roadside spectators. De Lima continued running, but soon lost his lead and finished third.
"It's a big mistake," said Nuzman. "The moment you have a leader, you need to have two motorcycles together protecting him,"
Roberto Gesta de Melo, head of the Brazilian track federation, said an appeal will be filed in about a week with the International Association of Athletics Federations seeking a gold medal for de Lima. An IAAF race jury rejected a similar appeal Sunday night, saying it sympathized with the Brazilian but could not change the result. "It's something not usual, of course, but some decisions have been done like that before," de Melo said of the request for a duplicate gold medal. "I think it would be a gesture of fair play."
Brazilian officials emphasized they have no intention of taking medals away from champion Stefano Baldini of Italy or runner-up Meb Keflezighi of the United States. They said they will appeal to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport if the IAAF does not agree to the second gold.
Horan, 57, has a history of disrupting sports events and was convicted by a three-member misdemeanor court of violating Greece's laws on extracurricular sports, which usually are used for soccer hooligans. He is expected to return home to London.
Horan was wearing a green beret, red kilt and knee-high green socks when he pushed de Lima. He had a sign on his back that read: "The Grand Prix Priest Israel Fulfillment of Prophecy Says the Bible."
Bronze for Mirabella
The International Olympic Committee's decision to award Erin Mirabella a bronze medal gave the United States its biggest cycling medal haul since the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Mirabella was named the medalist Sunday for the women's points race, a decision that gave USA Cycling four medals in Athens. Mirabella finished behind Colombia's Maria Luisa Calle Williams in Wednesday's race. Williams, though, tested positive for Heptaminol, a prohibited stimulant she denied taking. The Colombian Olympic Committee also said she tested negative in its post-race exam. Still, the IOC stripped the Colombian of her medal and diploma and ordered them immediately returned. "I am very excited, but I am disappointed that I didn't get a medal ceremony, and that I didn't get to ride around the velodrome with the American flag," Mirabella said to friends and relatives in an e-mail obtained by the Associated Press. "It is kind of a bummer that the Colombian stole those moments from me." . . . Clayton Stanley, a member of the US Olympic volleyball team, was charged with assault yesterday, accused of hitting a pregnant woman during a scuffle. Police said Stanley lives in Greece and plays for a local team. Stanley was taken before a judge and received two days to prepare his defense.