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Hamish Carter Wins Men's Triathlon
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Hamish Carter of New Zealand clinched the gold medal for men's triathlon at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games Thursday.

Carter won the three-discipline event at 1 hour 51 minutes and 7.73 seconds.  His teammate Bevan Docherty won the silver 7.87 seconds behind while the bronze went to Swiss Sven Riederer, who finished 25.53 seconds after Carter.

The 33-year-old Carter, ranked 8th on the latest men's world rankings released by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) before the Athens Games, teamed up extremely well with Docherty, winner of the 2004 world triathlon championships in Portugal, to secure a unshakable lead in the 10km run, or the last discipline, and land the third gold for their country at the Athens Games.

In what appeared to be a fairly easy win, Carter even had time to look back to make sure that no one was catching up before he made his final sprint in the last 30 meters. He threw himself onto the ground after crossing the finish line probably for both excitement and exhaustion.

"I can't believe it, man. I'm so stoked," said Carter after his win. "Today was my day. What a dream come true."

Carter, who was placed 33rd at 18 minutes and 19 seconds after the first discipline of 1.5-km swimming, scored the best result in the following 40-km cycling with 1 hour and 44 seconds to enter the running phase at the third place.

After only one lap of running he and Docherty had seized the top leading positions in the group and managed to keep their lead till the end.  The Swiss triathlete had followed the New Zealand duo closely for most of the time, but only to be thrown off in the last 300-meter spurt.

On his running side by side with Docherty in the last discipline, Carter said: "We wanted to beat each other more than anything. I didn't know I had it until the last 100 meters. I've worked my whole life for this."

The silver winner Docherty also said after the match that he had "had a dream race".

"I didn't come away with the gold but who better to lose to than my teammate Hamish?" he asked.

The excellent performance of the New Zealanders made the men's triathlon at this Games much less thrilling and suspenseful than at Sydney 2000, when Canadian Simon Whitfield overhauled Stephan Vuckovic of Germany in the final moments of a gruelling race to seize the gold.

Whitfield, also one of the top favorites at this Games, only finished 11th Thursday at 1 hour 53 minutes and 15.81 seconds.

A total of 49 triathletes from 24 countries and regions competed in the men's triathlon in the tough Vouliagmeni course in Athens.

A defining feature of the course is a 700m hill on the bike leg, a climb that varies in grade from 4 to 20 percent, which gave the cycling results some critical importance in the final outcome.

A native of Auckland, New Zealand, Carter started his triathlon career in 1992 at the age of 21. He was a twice winner of the world cup but his best ever result at the world championships was a second place in Perth 1997. 

(Xinhua News Agency August 26, 2004)

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