The defrocked Irish priest who bolted from the crowd and tackled the marathon leader about three miles from the finish Sunday has been arrested before for disrupting sporting events.
Cornelius Horan, 57, was wearing a green beret, a red kilt and knee-high green socks when he attacked Brazilian runner Vanderlei Lima, knocking him into the crowd. Lima was able to recover and finish, but had to settle for the bronze medal.
"I was scared, because I didn't know what could happen to me, whether he was armed with a knife, a revolver or something and whether he was going to kill me," Lima said. "That's what cost me the gold medal."
The Brazilian track federation protested the result and sought a duplicate gold medal for Lima, but the appeal was rejected, reports ABC News.
According to the Channel News Asia, the man, wearing what appeared to be a kilt, pushed the Brazilian into the spectators lining the roadside. De Lima was freed from the man's grasp and resumed the lead.
However, the pack had already been closing and within five minutes, Baldini had caught and passed De Lima before stretching out his lead.
Baldini entered the Panathinaiko Stadium alone and the man who was forced to drop out of the race in Sydney four years ago ran through the tape in 2hr 10min 55sec.
Baldini was confident he would have won even without the unwelcome intrusion.
"The way I was running nobody could have beaten me today," the 33-year-old said.
"I came here in top condition. Today I was sure I could win although I was worried during the first half of the race because it was too slow. I was glad when Gharib made a move at 25 kilometres to speed things up."
Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea, was delighted to collect the bronze medal. "I worked my butt off for this," he said.
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