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LONDON, England, August 9. HUNGARY's Eva Risztov ended her eight-year absence from Olympic action by winning the women's 10K marathon swim at the Serpentine in Hyde Park on Thursday at the 2012 London Olympics. Meanwhile, pre-race favorite and two-time world champion Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain missed out on a medal, finishing fourth.
For the first four kilometers of the 10K swim, Risztov and Payne seemed in control, resisting early challenges from Melissa Gorman of Australia, first at the first split, and Hayley Anderson of the U.S., first at the second split.
At halfway, Risztov held a clear lead while Payne had dropped back to fourth. Martina Grimaldi of Italy, silver medalist behind Payne at the 2011 World Championships, had moved up to second with first-time Olympian Anderson third.
Risztov, who competed at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games in the pool swimming competition, stayed in front heading into the fourth lap and switched to backstroke briefly at the one-hour mark to check how far she was in front of her nearest rivals. But the Hungarian had nothing to worry about and comfortably kept her rivals at bay during the fourth and fifth laps of the Serpentine.
Meanwhile, a pack of four had formed behind her to contest the silver and bronze medals: Grimaldi, Anderson, Angela Maurer of Germany and Payne. Going into the sixth and final lap, Risztov still led while Anderson was mounting a serious challenge to Grimaldi for the silver.
During the final stretch, Anderson overtook Grimaldi and started to close on Risztov. But the Hungarian resisted the late surge of her younger rival in the last 50m to claim her first Olympic gold medal in 1 hour, 57 minutes and 38.2 seconds.
Anderson finished second, just 0.4 seconds behind Risztov (1:57:38.6), while Grimaldi (1:57:41.8) just held off Payne (1:57:42.2) to win the bronze. Maurer, who dropped off before the final stretch, finished fifth, touching more than 14 seconds behind Risztov in 1:57:52.8, while early leader Gorman was 11th.
Anderson's silver medal comes with a bit of history. About a week ago, her older sister, Alyssa, won gold in the 800 free relay as a prelim swimmer for the United States. That makes them the second American swimming siblings to win Olympic medals, after Shirley and Jack Babashoff both won medals in the 1970s. The French siblings Laure and Florent Manaudou are the only siblings to both own gold medals, with Laure winning hers in 2004 and Florent taking the 50 free title this year.
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