ATHENS, Greece – It was another banner day for a former University of Arkansas Lady Razorback track athlete as Deena (Drossin) Kastor took the bronze medal in the women’s marathon at the games of the XXVIII Olmpiad in Athens, Greece, on Sunday.
In what has widely been considered one of the signature events of the games, Kastor battled intense heat to run down a world class field over the final 10,000 meters to snatch the bronze, her first Olympic medal in her second trip to the games. Kastor crossed the line in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 20 seconds to score the broze, just one minute behind the gold medallist Mizuki Noguchi of Japan.
“What an unbelievable moment for Deena,” Arkansas head coach Lance Harter said. “She has worked so hard over the years for this moment and really deserves it. She was very steady in her apporoach to the marathon and now has one of the ultimate prizes in the sport, an Olympic medal.”
More than two minutes behind the leaders at one point, Kastor ate up real estate over the final six miles of the 26.2 mile affair, picking off world-class runner after world-class runner. Trailing the then third-place runner, Ethiopia’s Elfenesh Alemu, by approximately 18 seconds with just a mile to go, Kastor stepped up to another gear, passing her opponent easily. By the time she entered the Olympic Stadium, Kastor only had to finish off her race to win her first medal, a feat she did with tremendous poise and determination. Following her finish, the poise that allowed her to earn the bronze broke down as she was reduced to tears of joy upon the reality of her accomplishment.
Competing in her second games, Kastor was a participant in the 10,000 meters at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, but stepped up to the marathon just a few years ago, a wise decision based on Sunday’s result.
Kastor becomes just the second Lady Razorback athlete to ever win an Olympic medal following in the footsteps of Veronica Campbell who won the bronze in the 100-meter dash on Saturday. She is also the first American female to take a medal and the pair of Olympic hardware in 2004 is the first time any University of Arkansas Olympians, male or female, have won multiple medals at the same games.
A pair of Lady Razorbacks set up their blocks on Monday at Olympic Stadium as the first and second rounds of the 200-meter dash is scheduled to compete. Bronze medallist Veronica Campbell runs for Jamaica while American LaShaunte’a Moore makes her Olympic debut. For more information about Lady Razorback track or about Arkansas women’s athletics, please go to www.ladybacks.com.