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|Subject: ||RE: 2004 Olympic Marathon. What happened the Africans?s|
You could argue that not as many of the best Africans were not running the marathon in 2004. But this race had Tergat who was the world record holder, Wainaina who was a two time olympic medalist and Gharib who was a two time world champion (and would later win Olympic silver in 2008). Part of it though was that the best Africans were only 2-3 minutes faster than the non-Africans where as they are 5-6 minutes faster than the best non-Africans now.
Also, it's not like the Africans were beaten by total unknowns. Baldini was twice a European champion and twice a world championships bronze medalist. Meb went on to win New York. de Lima was a little less known but was a two time Pan American games champion and also won Tokyo. Jon Brown who finished fourth had finished fourth in the previous Olympic marathon. Shigeru Aburaye who finished fifth, was fifth in the two world championships leading up to this. Alberto Chaica was fourth in the previous world championship.
I think the real answer is that it was the conditions. If I remember correctly the course was rather hilly, similar to Boston. It was also hot and humid. These two factors combined to make it a bit of a crap shoot.
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