Olympic medalist Derrick Adkins arrested in Long Beach

Derrick Adkins, 1996 Olympic gold medalist. Police said Derrick Adkins, 1996 Olympic gold medalist. Police said Adkins refused to move from a bike safety lane on the Long Beach boardwalk around midnight on Sept. 12 -- despite repeated requests -- and was arrested. (April 9, 2007) Photo Credit: Patrick McCarthy

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Former Olympic gold medalist Derrick Adkins faces an obstruction charge after his arrest last week in Long Beach, city police said Thursday.

Police said the arrest followed Adkins' repeated refusal to move from a bike safety lane on the boardwalk around midnight on Sept. 12.

A police spokesman said Adkins, 43, of 909 Derrick Adkins Lane in West Hempstead, tried to flee from an officer who was giving him a summons after two warnings.

In a phone interview Thursday night, an apologetic Adkins cited personal issues and admitted he had made a mistake in running from the officer.

"When the guy yelled at me, I yelled back, and I ran. I got like 50 meters, and I realized, 'What am I doing?' " the former track star said.

He said he then put his hands behind his back, and said: "I'm sorry, officer."

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Adkins said he comes down to the boardwalk to "de-stress" by jogging about 3 miles while listening to gospel music through his headphones.

Adkins hurdled to stardom at Malverne High School, winning state titles in 1987 and 1988, then graduated from Georgia Tech en route to winning the 400-meter hurdles at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Long Beach police spokesman Lt. Ed Ryan said police on patrol along the boardwalk saw Adkins in the bike lane close to midnight Sept. 12. Ryan said that an officer asked Adkins to move but when he returned later, Adkins remained in the lane.

Ryan said the officer asked Adkins to move again -- or he would have to issue a summons -- but when the officer returned, Adkins was still there. When the officer said he would issue a summons, Ryan said Adkins ran.

"I don't know if his track days are behind him," Ryan said, "but he was caught down the boardwalk."

Adkins' attorney, Fred Brewington, said the circumstances of his arrest were not as portrayed by police.

"Mr. Adkins will have his day in court," Brewington said.

When told that police said an officer chased Adkins and ran him down, Brewington said, "You think they can catch an Olympian?"

The arrest was made near Riverside Boulevard and Boardwalk. Adkins was charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration.

Adkins is due in Long Beach City Court on Oct. 4.

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With Joan Gralla

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