American Malachi Davis slipped from third to fifth in the final strides of the 400 meters at the British Olympic trials yesterday in Manchester, and failed to earn an automatic berth for the Athens Games in his adopted country.
Davis must wait until British selectors name a provisional Olympic roster on Tuesday to find out if he is headed to the Games. His fifth-place finish makes him a long shot.
Davis, whose mother was born in London, won his heat Saturday, two days after arriving in Britain for the first time.
While the U.S. Olympic trials were being held in Sacramento, Davis's appearance at the trials in Manchester was greeted with surprise by rival athletes, although team officials said he had done nothing wrong.
Looking at the opposition, Davis had said he had a better chance of earning an Olympic berth at the British event than at the U.S. trials.
In the final, he started sluggishly but was in third place when the runners hit the final straight. He then fell behind leaders Daniel Caines and Tim Benjamin, and slowed dramatically in the final strides and was passed by Sean Baldock and Richard Tobin.
Davis finished in 46.47 seconds, well off his season best 45.52.
Benjamin won in 45.58 seconds, becoming the first British runner to beat Caines since July 2001.
Jacobi on Canoe/Kayak Roster
Bethesda native Joe Jacobi is the only Olympic medalist on the 2004 canoe/kayak roster, which was finalized yesterday.
Jacobi won the two-man canoe whitewater slalom gold medal in Barcelona in 1992. He'll be in the same event this year, partnered with Matt Taylor.
Also on the team is former whitewater slalom kayaking world champion Rebecca Giddens, who finished seventh in the 2000 Sydney Games. Other former Olympians on the team are Taylor and sprint paddlers Kathy Colin and Jordan Malloch. Colin will race in both the two- and four-person kayak events at 500 meters; Malloch is entered in the 500 and 1,000 canoe pair.
Rami Zur is entered in both the 500 and 1,000 single kayak sprint events. Zur competed in Sydney for Israel in 500 and 1,000 two-person kayak events, but finished outside the top 10.
The first-time Olympians are: Andrew Bussey and Jeffrey Smoke in the 1,000 kayak pair; Benjamin Lewis and Bartosz Wolski in the 500 kayak pair; Carrie Johnson in the 500 kayak single and four; Marie Mijalis in the 500 kayak four; Lauren Spalding in the 500 kayak pair and four; Nathan Johnson in the 500 and 1,000 canoe pair; Brett Heyl and Scott Parsons, both based in Bethesda, in kayak slalom; and Chris Ennis in canoe slalom.