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OLYMPICS / Seventh Doesn't Satisfy Ellerbe / C. Islip native disappointed in hammer debut

Sydney - Sometimes in sports, the going up doesn't seem quite worth the

coming down. Here was Central Islip native Dawn Ellerbe realizing a grand

ambition, competing in the Olympic Games, in the final of the first women's

Olympic hammer throw, with a crowd of 110,000 people watching.

And she finished seventh.

"I don't know," Ellerbe said, looking despondent. "I just didn't throw

well. I'm here and I think it's an accomplishment to make the finals, but� "

World record-holder Mihaela Milente of Romania had been unceremoniously

yanked off the field before the start of preliminaries on Wednesday because of

a pre-Olympic positive test for steroids, so the door was opened a bit wider

for Ellerbe, 26, to shoot for a medal. Since Milente had been scheduled in the

opposite qualifying heat from Ellerbe, Ellerbe said she wasn't aware of

Milente's absence until she walked into the stadium for the final.

Anyway, it didn't affect Ellerbe's day any more than the warm, windy

evening weather. Ellerbe said she had no explanation for never approaching her

personal best of 231 feet, 2 inches. Poland's Kamila Skolimowska won the event

with a throw of 233-5 3/4, followed by Russia's Olga Kuzenkova at 228-11 and

Germany's Kirsten Muenchow at 227-3 3/4. Ellerbe's series of six throws ranged

from 205-1 to 219-2.

Naturally, she was disappointed. For her Olympic debut in this debut sport,

she had hoped for a medal, with no preference for color. To leave

empty-handed, after very briefly moving up to fourth place in the standings,

wasn't what she had envisioned.

But when she thought about things, she said, "You know what? It's such a

small fraction of people in the whole world that get to be in the Olympics. You

walk around in the athletes' village and you realize you're not just any

person, you're one of the best in the world.

"I would have loved a medal, and I thought I could get one, but that's why

they have competition. I have no excuses. I had wonderful practices, I felt

confident going in. This takes away from my Olympic experience a little bit,

but I made the finals. I'm proud of myself for that."

2000 Local Olympians

Olympian Home Town Event Status

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