A marked man, happily
EUGENE, Ore. -- Track and field rules say a runner finishes when any part of the torso breaks the tape (or passes the electric eye used in big-time meets).
That is why runners lean at the finish. It is why Christian Smith dove headlong in the final of the men's 800-meters Monday, hoping that would get his shoulders to the finish ahead of those of Khadevis Robinson, who also dove.
This was not an exaggerated lean that turned into a tumble, which happened to Smith in a high school meet. This was a planned dive that gave Smith the third Olympic spot by 6/100ths of a second.
It also left him was with abrasions (like rug burns) on his arms and knees and cuts on his head, shoulder and hip.
"I hope one of them leaves a scar," Smith said Tuesday. "Then I will always be reminded of the race.
"This one [the shoulder] has the best chance. I don't mind if they all scar."
-- Philip Hersh
Photo: Christian Smith, far right, dives over the finish line ahead of, from left, Duane Solomon, Lopez Lomong and Khadevis Robinson in the men's 800 finals Monday. Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images