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
Dawn Ellerbe Central Islip Hammer throw Finished 7th
Kevin Han Ridgewood Badminton Lost in 3rd round
Danielle Henderson Commack Softball Team won gold medal
George Hincapie Farmingdale Cycling Finished 8th in road race
Chamique Holdsclaw Astoria Basketball Sidelined by injury
Bob Kaehler Huntington Rowing eights Team finished 5th
Thrine Kane Merrick Shooting Finished 35th
50m 3-position rifle
Kerry McCoy Mid. Island Wrestling Won 2nd match yesterday
Shannon MacMillan Smithtown Soccer Team won silver medal
Tim Seaman N. Babylon 20K walk Finished 40th
Sara Whalen Greenlawn Soccer Team won silver medal