Szabo takes 5000m gold
The Rediff Team
In Atlanta four years ago, Romania's Gabriela Szabo took the silver. This time round, running a blistering race down the home-stretch after staying in the wake of the leaders for the best part of 5000 metres, Szabo stormed to the finish in a time of 14:40.80.
Which comes as no surprise, since Szabo has dominated the event all through 1999. Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland took the silver with a new national record of 14.41.02, in the process bettering her personal best for the season, and Gete Wami of Ethiopia takes bronze with 14:42.23.
The 25-year-old Bucharest resident, standing all of five-foot-three short, has been making waves ever since she took the silver over 1500 in Atlanta.
In 1997, she took her first world title, taking teh 5000 gold in the Worlds. And a year later, she stunned the track world, setting world records in the 1500, 3000 and 5000, and the mile.
Continuing her awesome dominance in 1999, Szabo took the 3000 in Berlin, sweeping the event in all seven Golden League meets and sharing the $1 million jackpot that goes to athletes who remain unbeaten over a season.
For a person who started out intending to be either a gymnast, or a swimmer, that wasn't too bad. Szabo took to running only when she realised she wasn't going to make waves in those events, and her short stature made her third love, basketball, just a pipe-dream.
Named women's athlete of the year for 1999, she had pretty much all she wanted. Except a husband, which she acquired when, in October 1999, she married long term coach Gyongyossy Zsolt.
And an Olympic gold -- which she got today.
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