BEIJING - On a Sunday morning that featured much better weather conditions than had been expected, the women's marathon brought more difficult results than expected for Team USA. Blake Russell (Pacific Grove, Calif.) was the only American finisher, placing 27th in 2:33:13.
Running under overcast skies with humid yet somewhat cool temperatures, Constantina Tomescu of Romania, a 38-year-old mother, stole the race at the half-way point, practically sprinting away. She ran alone at the front to win in 2:26:44, with Catherine Ndereba of Kenya out-sprinting Zhou Chunxiu of China to win her second consecutive Olympic silver in 2:27:06 to Zhou's 2:27:07.
After coming through 20 km in 35th place (1:11:37), Russell gradually moved up, coming through the half in 1:15:33 and moving steadily up to 27th.
Defending bronze medalist and American record holder Deena Kastor was forced to drop out suddenly when, precisely at the 5 km mark, she felt a pop in the ball of her right foot and could no longer put weight on the foot.Olympic Trials runner-up Magdalena Lewy Boulet, suffering from a stiff knee after hitting it on the arm of an Olympic shuttle bus about one week ago, dropped out at approximately 20 km. She had passed 10 km in 37:24.
Track competition continues Sunday night with finals in the women's steeplechase, women's 100m and men's 10,000m. For more information on Team USA at the Olympic Games, including complete results and photos, visit www.usatf.org
Athlete quotes, women's marathon
Deena Kastor (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.): "My foot has been sore for the past week. I thought it was just tendons; they get hyper-sensitive leading up to a marathon. I was icing it this week. It didn't affect how I was training. It was a bit sore when I woke up but had no effect on my running. It was tight most of the way. I felt a pop in my foot. I couldn't stand on it. I didn't expect to be finishing the marathon in a bus. We prepare forever for the marathon, and we had a sound race plan. I was excited to get out, make my country proud and try to win another medal. As athletes, we have ups and downs. Unfortunately, you can't pick the days they come on."
Blake Russell (Pacific Grove, Calif.): "I had no idea what was going on with Magda or Deena. It was tough out there. I put myself in good position, but they kind of pulled away the second half. I thought I would catch more people. ... I'm so excited to be here and I had to keep telling myself to go for it."
Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.): "A few days ago, I was sitting in a shuttle in the Village and banged my knee, right in the middle. It's been stiff, with not much range of motion. I was hoping for the best, hoping it would warm up, but it just got stiffer and stiffer. My fitness is fine. It's just that I couldn't bend it (the knee)."
On if she knew the extent of her injury when it happed: "I knew right away. I just whacked it really hard, so it was an acute kind of hit."
On the pain of dropping out: "Your dream goes away. But I'm going to try to do it again."