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28th Olympic Games - JO
Athens, Greece, August 14-28, 2004
August 22: Women's 3km Individual Pursuit finals
New Zealand's Sarah Ulmer put in an amazing performance Sunday to win the women's 3 kilometre individual pursuit, smashing her own world record set in the qualification round just a day before. Ulmer started slower than her rival for gold, Katie Mactier of Australia, but by mid-race was pulling ahead and well on her way to an unprecedented time of 3 minutes 24 seconds. Visibly elated and gasping for breath after her ride, Ulmer received a hearty congratulatory hug from Mactier before setting off for a victory lap of the Athens velodrome.
"My own limits are as far as I can go on the track," Ulmer said after her victory. "Here, the circumstances were very special.
"I cannot describe my feelings," she added. "My dream came true. I worked really hard for this competition and the results were my reward. During the race I never watch the time. I didn't know if I would break the record but I knew that I was trying hard and that it was a very fast race."
For Mactier, taking silver in such elite company had its own reward. "It's an honour to be here with two legendary cyclists," she said. "I am very happy that I took the second place."
Mactier had to settle for silver, but still put in her own personal best time of 3:27.650. Her first round performance, which pushed defending Olympic champion Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel into the bronze round, served her well since Van Moorsel's time was in fact quicker than Mactier's today. The Dutchwoman, meanwhile, had no trouble securing her bronze medal against another Australian, Katherine Bates.
"I am very happy to have done my last three kilometres," Van Moorsel commented. "The last race was faster than ever. We three were all together in big shape and the track was very quick."
For Van Moorsel, the Olympic pursuit was her final race as a professional, before a farewell appearance in January at the Rotterdam six day. She didn't repeat her gold in the pursuit from Sydney four years ago, but the Netherlands' most talented female cyclist is saying goodbye to competition on a high note.
"Yes, this was my last race. I gave it all. This was it, it's over. I will rewind all my videotapes to look back at a beautiful career of which I am very proud."
Images by www.epicimages.us
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
For gold and silver 1000m 1000-2000m 2000-3000m Final 1 Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand) 1.11.601 (2) 1.05.764 (1) 1.07.172 (1) 3.24.537 (52.802 km/h) 2 Katie Mactier (Australia) 1.10.618 (1) 1.07.791 (2) 1.09.241 (2) 3.27.650 For bronze 3 Leontien V.Moorsel (Netherlands) 1.11.984 (1) 1.07.125 (1) 1.07.928 (1) 3.27.037 (52.164 km/h) 4 Katherine Bates (Australia) 1.12.401 (2) 1.08.801 (2) 1.10.513 (2) 3.31.715