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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
Maddocks strides into Aussie hearts
Chris Maddocks
Chris Maddocks: The agony and the ecstasy
British walker Chris Maddocks was awarded a rapturous reception from the Sydney crowd even though he was the last man to complete the 50 km race and finished more than an hour behind the winner.

Nearly 100,000 spectators cheered every agonising step that Maddocks took towards the line, giving the impression that he was the first and not the last man to enter the stadium.

Maddocks, 43, overcame a hamstring injury to complete the race and set a record as the first British track and field athlete to take part in five Olympics.

Exhausted by the searing heat, but overwhelmed by the warmth of the reception he received, Maddocks was clearly affected by the crowd.


It was the most emotional thing I've ever experienced
  Chris Maddocks

"It was the most emotional thing I think I've ever experienced at the finish," he said.

As he entered the arena, loudspeakers played the song "I'm Gonna Be (500 miles)" by Scottish pop group The Proclaimers, which has the refrain "I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more."

Maddocks eventually finished in a time of four hours 52 minutes and four seconds and became latest Olympian to be embraced by the Australian public for guts and perseverance.

Swimmers Eric Moussambani and Paula Barila Bolopa of Equitorial Guinea have been lauded for hanging on to record some of the slowest times in Olympic history.

The race was won by Robert Korzeniowski of Poland in three hours, 42 minutes and 22 seconds.

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See also:

22 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Walking gold handed to Pole
23 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Mexican outrage over 'Olympic robbery'
28 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Saville sees gold snatched away
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