Thursday 2 September 2004
Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei da Lima arrived back in his homeland to
an ovation fit for an Olympic champion yesterday.
Da Lima won the Olympic bronze medal in Athens behind Italian victor Stefano
Baldini but was leading the race with a lead of nearly 30 seconds when he was
rugby tackled by a defrocked Catholic priest.
Though he had been gradually running slower, the incident cost him at least
15 seconds and he was clearly distressed by what happened, and was quickly
caught by Baldini who would eventually finish 76 seconds ahead of him.
It does not matter if it is gold, silver or bronze
Mobbed as he arrived at Sao Paulo airport, Da Lima said: "I bear no ill
will. I reached my objective which I had set for myself: to win a medal. It
does not matter if it is gold, silver or bronze ...