LONDON — It was not the way Andrew Wheating wanted to finish his second Olympic experience, not with a ninth-place finish in the first semifinal of the men’s 1,500 meters. The top five runners in his heat automatically advanced, as did the top five in the second semifinal heat, along with the two next fastest times. Americans Leonel Manzano and Matthew Centrowitz made it to Tuesday’s final.
“It obviously goes one or two ways — slow or fast,” said Wheating, of Norwich, Vt., who was the final qualifier for the semifinals. “I was kind of hoping it would be fast, but I was slow. With 63-second quarters, it set it up for a heck of a kick. I just tried to stay quiet and comfortable as long as I could. I should have moved earlier.”
In the semifinals of the men’s 400 meters, double amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa also failed to make the final. He finished last in the second semifinal in 46.54 seconds, well off his goal of breaking 45. But given that he broke barriers for disabled athletes by simply stepping on the track, and that his primary goal was a semifinal berth, he had a much different reaction.
“The whole experience is mind-blowing,” said Pistorius, who couldn’t stop smiling as he made his way through his second hour of media interviews. “My aim was to make the semifinal. It’s a dream come true. Thanks to everyone for their support.”
On Thursday, he will be back on the track for the first round of the 4 x 400 relay, as a member of the South African team that won silver at last year’s world championships.
Women’s 400-meter gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross could relate in some ways to what Tyson Gay experienced Sunday night. He finished fourth in the 100, losing out on a medal by one-100th of a second. Having missed the Beijing Olympic final because of a nagging hamstring injury, and coming back from hip surgery to reach the London final, he was devastated as he spoke to the media. He talked about how he tried to get a medal for his family, but came up short.
In her news conference, Richards-Ross offered some words of advice.
“The journey of an athlete is very difficult and everybody’s story is always different,” said Richards-Ross. “Tyson Gay and I are really, really good friends. And I really hoped that tonight would be his night . . . To my friend, I would just tell him to keep on keeping on. His best is right around the corner. I believe that, in time, he too will sit where I’m sitting. I know how he feels. We all do. We’ve all been there.”
The US entrants in the women’s marathon — Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, and Desiree Davila — hope to erase Olympic disappointment next spring in Boston. All three will be on the starting line in Hopkinton for the Marathon. And they hope an American woman finishes first. No American woman has won Boston since Lisa Larsen Weidenbach (now Rainsberger) in 1985.
“It’s hard to talk really confidently right now,” said Goucher after her 11th-place finish. “[Shalane and I] both really want an American winner. We feel one of us can do it. Then you add Desi in, and I feel like it’s going to happen.”
Krisztian Pars of Hungary won the hammer throw with a mark of 264 feet 5 inches. It was enough to beat 2008 gold medalist Primoz Kozmus of Slovenia and Japanese veteran Koji Murofushi. Pars placed fourth at Beijing four years ago, but was promoted to second when the two Belarusian throwers who finished in front of him were disqualified for failing doping controls. More than 18 months later, Pars and Murofushi, who had been elevated to silver and bronze, lost their medals when the Court of Arbitration for Sport reinstated Vadim Devyatovskiy and Ivan Tsikhan’s results from Beijing. ‘‘This is a revenge for what happened at the Beijing Olympics,’’ Pars said. ‘‘I feel life has given something back to me, something which eluded me four years ago.’’ . . . Ezekiel Kemboi won Kenya’s first gold medal in track and field at London in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, eight years after winning in Athens. The two-time world champion won in 8 minutes, 18.56 seconds . . . Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan won the women’s triple jump gold.