Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meet the American who won gold at the World Outgames after being injured in the bomb attack

Ross Forman writes:
An attack at the World Outgames in Copenhagen last month miraculously left only one person injured -- runner Dean Koga, who just 24 hours later, his hand wrapped in bandages, turned around and won a gold medal.

Tell me what happened as you prepared in Lane 3 of the staggered-start race?

Dean Koga: Well, the fact it was a staggered start was very fortunate, because no one else was in the proximity of the two devices [that went off] except me. [The starter] had just called everyone to their marks, and then immediately there was an explosion. I just thought the starter had misfired the gun because that sometimes happens. When I turned around, I saw the device and could still see the glow where the fuse was. So I started running toward the infield and there was another one in front of me, which exploded, and that’s the one that hit my hand.

You were hit running from your starting position into the infield of the track. What if you had instead stayed put?

Dean Koga: It might have hit me in the face. It might have been worse. The second one landed in front of me. So, had I still been facing forward, the device would have come the direction of my face. I was not sure what was happening. I just heard people say "Run!" There were several people on the sideline who could see the devices fly over [a wall] onto the track; I couldn’t.

When it hit your hand, what did you think?

Dean Koga: I knew that I had been hit because I felt the pain, looked, and saw my hand was swelling up and blood was all over. My first thought was, I wanted to just wrap my hand and still run the relay, but there was too much blood.


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