Luck Of The Irish Sidelines Evans

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ATLANTA: An arbitrator's decision and a miscalculation kept Janet Evans from equaling Bonnie Blair's American record of five Olympic gold medals. Evans failed to qualify in the 400-meter freestyle final on Monday, when she was edged out by an Irish swimmer allowed to compete at the last minute after a protest led by the United States failed. Michelle Smith, who already won the gold in the 400 individual medley, was allowed in the race by the Court of Arbitration for Sport despite missing the July 5 deadline to qualify for the games by one day. Smith qualified second of the eight women who made it to tonight's finals. Evans, who finished ninth was visibly disappointed after the race. "I've learned that life's not fair and today proves that point," she said, tears welling in her eyes. Evans, an historically slow morning swimmer, miscalculated the field, believing a second-place finish in her heat would place her in the finals. She was wrong -- by 20 hundredths of a second. "I felt I made a mistake by not going out fast enough," Evans said. "When I was watching the last two heats, I said 'Gosh, that's really fast.'" Evans has one last shot to equal Blair's mark in the 800 freestyle later this week. American Cristina Teuscher qualified seventh in the race.
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