Published Sunday 05 August 2012

New Zealand’s Andrea Hewitt finished a brave sixth in the Olympic women’s triathlon at Hyde Park today.
Hewitt, one of the pre-race favourites, put herself in a position to get among the medals, but didn’t quite have the legs in the final stages of the run.
The other New Zealanders in the field, Kate McIlroy and Nicky Samuels, were 10th and 35th.
The triathlon was won by Nicola Spirig of Switzerland after a dramatic sprint finish in which she beat Sweden’s Lisa Norden by 0.001s, the closest finish possible without a tie being declared.
Hewitt, 30, was a little bit further back than she would have wanted after the swim, emerging from the water 27th.
However, she had a superb bike ride, recording the equal fastest (with team-mate McIlroy) cycle leg of any of the 55 triathletes. By the time she began the run she was third.
As the leading group of runners was whittled away from a dozen to just six, Hewitt hung on, though she seemed to be struggling to stay in touch. Finally, about three kilometres from the finish, she drifted off the back.
Hewitt finished in 2h 00.36s. The gold and silver medallists were timed at 1min 59.48s and Australian Erin Densham was third two seconds behind.
McIlroy was 31st after the swim, but hauled herself to 12th after a very strong bike ride. The effort took away some of her sting though, and she struggled to keep up with the leaders on the run, eventually finishing in 2h 01.28s.
Samuels was not a factor after struggling to 40th in the swim. Her finishing time was 2h 04.48s.
Hewitt was philosophical afterwards.
“I gave it my best shot,” said the Christchurch athlete. “I didn’t have the best swim, but was still able to give myself the perfect scenario for the run.
“I just didn’t have it when the leaders took off on the third lap.”