Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's marathon
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
|Venue||Marathon to Athens, Greece|
|Competitors||101 from 59 nations|
|Athletics at the
2004 Summer Olympics
|100 m hurdles||women|
|110 m hurdles||men|
|400 m hurdles||men||women|
|4×100 m relay||men||women|
|4×400 m relay||men||women|
|20 km walk||men||women|
|50 km walk||men|
The Men's Marathon event at the 2004 Summer Olympics took place on August 29, 2004 in the streets of Athens, Greece. The streets were recently painted for the event, which provided an excellent road surface for the athletes. Drawing upon the ancient origins of the race, the marathon began in Marathon, Greece. It ended at Panathinaiko Stadium, the stadium used for the 1896 Athens Olympics.
The event was marked by an incident in which Cornelius Horan, an Irish protester, grappled Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil while de Lima was leading the event with around 7 kilometers remaining. Greek spectator Polyvios Kossivas helped Vanderlei free from Horan's grasp and back into his running. De Lima lost about 15 to 20 seconds of time because of the interruption, and finished third in the event with a time of 2:12:11 — winning the bronze medal. De Lima was awarded the rarely awarded Pierre de Coubertin Medal for sportsmanship in addition to his bronze. Despite the fact that the incident had seriously hindered his chances of winning the gold or silver medal, he didn't complain and graciously acknowledged the crowd's cheers in the home straight. The protester had a sign on his back that read "The Grand Prix Priest. Israel Fulfilment of Prophecy Says The Bible. The Second Coming is Near." He later apologized for possibly costing de Lima the gold.
The phrase "Grand Prix Priest" refers to Horan's previous protest, in which he ran onto the track at the Silverstone Circuit during the Formula One 2003 British Grand Prix, intentionally running directly into the path of oncoming cars.
The 26.2 mile journey began in Marathon. The big contenders all found themselves in a large leading group that held a modest place through a half marathon. A few tried to surge ahead but the most successful was Vanerlei De Lima's attack at 20k. Past 25k, Stefano Baldini raised the tempo taking 7 others with him. Finally, the chase group was whittled down to three, Stefano Baldini, Paul Tergat, and Mebrahtom Keflezighi. After 35k was passed, Paul Tergat cracked, leaving 2 to chase behind. Stefano Baldini then closed the gap to De Lima after the latter was attacked while dropping Keflezighi. Baldini moved into the lead and took it home for the gold medal in 2:10:55. Keflezighi caught the fading De Lima as well, taking the silver in 2:11:29. De Lima was able to hold off Jon Brown, beating him by 15 seconds for the bronze.
- All times shown are in hours:minutes:seconds
|DNS||did not start|
|Standing records prior to the 2004 Summer Olympics|
|World Record||Paul Tergat (KEN)||2:04:55||September 28, 2003||Berlin, Germany|
|Olympic Record||Carlos Lopes (POR)||2:09:21||August 12, 1984||Los Angeles, United States|
|Season Best||Evans Rutto (KEN)||2:06:18||April 18, 2004||London, United Kingdom|