Aug. 11, 2012
BERKELEY -Former Cal track & field standout Alysia Montano was the lone Golden Bear competing in the Olympics on Saturday. Montano competed in the final of the women's 800 meters and placed fifth.
Cal has two Olympians competing the Games' final day of action on Sunday. Aleksa Saponjic of Serbia goes for the gold in the men's water polo final against against Italy. Also, Iceland's Kari Karlsson will run in the marathon.
Track & Field
As is her typical routine, Montano raced to the front and paced the pack through the opening 400 meters with a split of 56.31 seconds. She lost her lead on the back straightaway and could not quite make up the difference down the homestretch.
Russia's Mariya Savinova claimed the gold medal by more than a second in 1:56.19, followed by Caster Semenya of South Africa (1:57.23) and Russian Ekaterina Poistogova (1:57.53). Pamela Jelimo of Kenya was fourth in 1:57.59, just ahead of Montano. See the complete results here.
"She had dreams of being on the podium given she was so close last year at the World Championships," director of track & field Tony Sandoval said of Montano, who was fourth at the 2011 world meet. "Nevertheless, she ran two 1:57 times back-to-back and has three this year alone. It was a very deep field with some very talented women. I'm sure she's unsatisfied, but she is one of the great American 800 runners in history.
A four-time USA champion in the 800, Montano won NCAA indoor and outdoor titles in the event in 2007. She was also the bronze medalist at the 2010 World Indoor Championships. Only two Americans have ever medaled in the women's 800 at the Olympics. Madeline Manning won gold in 1968, and Kim Gallagher earned silver in 1984 and bronze in 1988.