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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Track and field

Southern Hospitality Offered to Last Runner

August 05, 1996|Associated Press

ATLANTA — No last-place finisher in a marathon ever has been greeted more royally.

The band played a fanfare as A Baser Wasiqi of Afghanistan entered Olympic Stadium nearly 4 1/2 hours after he began the event Sunday morning. He finished 111th out of 111 who completed the race. No. 110 was about 1 1/2 hours ahead of him.

"He walked quite a bit of the way, but he did jog across the finish line," said Jennifer Jordan, communications coordinator for the marathon venue.

The stadium was closed long before Wasiqi finished as crews prepared for Sunday night's closing ceremonies. But the marathon volunteers were adamant that Wasiqi would get to finish in the stadium.

One of the sector coordinators ran to the band, which was practicing for the closing ceremonies, and asked it to play something.

Other workers ripped some tape off the finish line and held it so Wasiqi could break through it.

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