China misses hammer bronze in measurement farce
Updated: 2012-08-11 19:49:19
LONDON - China's Zhang Wenxiu was initially awarded her second successive Olympic bronze medal in the women's hammer throw on Friday, before Germany's Betty Heidler was promoted to third following a mix-up over the measurement of her fifth throw.
Officials said that although world record holder Heidler's fifth effort was electronically measured, it had not been entered into the data system. She was allowed to re-throw, fouling, and was unable to get past Zhang with her sixth attempt.
Zhang, in third place at that point, went into the final round thinking she had the bronze medal. She failed to improve but draped herself in a Chinese flag and did a lap of honor.
However, when officials found Heidler's mark in the grass from her fifth throw, it was manually re-measured at 77.13, beating Zhang's 76.34, so the German was awarded the bronze.
Chinese officials immediately appealed against the decision, causing the medal ceremony to be postponed until Saturday.
After more than three hours of deliberation, the IAAF athletics ruling body decided the result would stand, noting that the electronic measurement of Heidler's throw had been discovered and adjusting her third-place distance to 77.12.
Former doper Tatyana Lysenko of Russia won the women's hammer gold with an Olympic record throw of 78.18 meters. Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland took silver with 77.60