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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 August, 2004, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Backley misses medal
Steve Backley grimaces after a throw in the javelin final
Steve Backley narrowly missed another Olympic medal as he bowed out of international competition with fourth place in the javelin final.

The 35-year-old, with two silvers and a bronze from his previous three Games, threw a season's best 84.13m.

But he was not able to improve on it with his final three throws, finishing 71cm short of Sergey Makarov in bronze.

Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen took gold with a personal best 86.50m; Latvia's Vadims Vasilevskis's 84.95m won silver.

"I really believed I was going to win, right up to the point I lost it and came fourth," said Backley.

"I knew once the first few guys had thrown that the medals were going to be won by distances I was capable of.

I am going to have a beer now. And then maybe I'll have another one
Steve Backley
"I was hoping right to the end. I can't really ask more of myself. I feel I did my best.

"I guess it is a case of 'out with the old and in with the new'. But at least I beat Jan Zelezny - that is a plus!"

Zelezny, the three-time defending champion and so often Backley's nemesis, could only manage 80.59m and was eliminated after three rounds.

Makarov, the world champion, opened with a throw of 84.84m, closely followed by Thorkildsen with a season's best 84.82m.

Vasilevskis led after the first round with his personal best of 84.95m, but Thorkildsen's second-round effort took the lead, which he held until the end.

Backley, who opened with 79.62m and 81.48m in the first two rounds, threw 84.13m to make sure he was one of the top eight athletes to qualify for three more throws.

But a fourth round throw of 83.02m, and a final throw of 81.62m after a no-throw in the fifth, ensured he finished his illustrious career without an Olympic gold.

"I am ready for retirement," Backley added.

"I put everything into that and I am going to have a beer now. And then maybe I'll have another one."

Links to more Athletics stories


Backley squeezes through
26 Aug 04  |  Athletics

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