LONDON -- The trademark bright yellow silk flower tucked into Alysia Montano’s hair was at odds with the tears welling in her eyes as she stood, hands on hips, describing her disappointment.
Montano said allowing herself to be boxed around the last curve of the women’s 800-meter final Saturday evening probably cost her a shot at a medal. Instead, she finished fifth in 1:57.93, more than a half-second off her personal best. Russia's Mariya Savinova won gold in 1:56.19.
“It’s been such a long road to get here,’’ said Montano, a four-time national champion in the event who competed for the University of California at Berkeley. “It feels like it took forever and now it’s here and gone.’’
The 26-year-old said she thinks she has a lot of growing to do as a runner and intends to get to work on that right away: “There’s no giving up. That’s not part of my DNA.
“Racing in the U.S., our women aren’t as aggressive. I love the opportunity to be able to race and get gritty with the best 800-meter runners in the world, but I still see myself making little errors, and in the last 200, I got stuck.
“I have some things to tie up. Fortunately, I’m going to have the time to do that.’’
Montano said she feels as if she has “been knocking on the American record (1:56.40) door for a while.’’ A foot injury forced her to withdraw after the first round of the 800 at the 2008 Olympic trials, but she came back to become national champion in the event in 2010 and 2011 and finished fourth at the world championships in the 800 last year.