Olympics, Open Water: Maarten van der Weijden Survives Leukemia to Claim Men’s 10K Gold

BEIJING, China, August 21. JUST a few years ago, Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands was on his death bed with Leukemia. Today, the cancer survivor is now the inaugural gold medalist in the men's 10K race at the 2008 Beijing Games.

The iron man overtook David Davies of Great Britain – who led almost the entire race, to win in 1:51:51.6. Davies took silver in 1:51:53.1. Thomas Lurz of Germany held off the final pack with a bronze-winning time of 1:51:53.6.

van der Weijden had a stem cell transplant back in 2001 that helped him survive his bout with Leukemia.

"I learned from the cancer," van der Weijden said. "I learned to approach challenges step-by-step. I can see that having Leukemia s helping me now. It's making me stronger, because everything I go through in life from now on will be easier than what I went through to bear cancer."

Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria, the English Channel record holder, wound up in sixth with a time of 1:52:09.1. Meanwhile, Mark Warkentin of the United States earned a top 10 finish with an eight-place 1:52:13.0.

Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia drew a pair of yellow cards, which ended up in his disqualification.

RNK Bib Ctr Name Final Time Final Diff
1 17 van der WEIJDEN Maarten 1:51:51.6
2 10 DAVIES David 1:51:53.1 +1.50
3 6 LURZ Thomas 1:51:53.6 +2.00
4 3 CLERI Valerio 1:52:07.5 +15.90
5 14 DRATTSEV Evgeny 1:52:08.9 +17.30
6 21 STOYCHEV Petar 1:52:09.1 +17.50
7 8 RYCKEMAN Brian 1:52:10.7 +19.10
8 18 WARKENTIN Mark 1:52:13.0 +21.40
9 5 HO Chad 1:52:13.1 +21.50
10 9 Leon MALDONADO SAVERA Erwin 1:52:13.6 +22.00
11 23 HURST Ky 1:52:13.7 +22.10
12 4 CHERVYNSKIY Igor 1:52:14.7 +23.10
13 2 Jose HERVAS Francisco 1:52:16.5 +24.90
14 1 CARMO Allan 1:52:16.6 +25.00
15 24 RONDY Gilles 1:52:16.7 +25.10
16 25 GIANNIOTIS Spyridon 1:52:20.4 +28.80
17 19 VITEK Rostislav 1:52:41.8 +50.20
18 22 ESCOBAR Luis 1:53:47.9 +1:56.30
19 11 MOHAMMAD Saleh 1:54:37.7 +2:46.10
20 13 MONIR Mohamed 1:55:17.0 +3:25.40
21 15 BLAUM Damian 1:55:48.6 +3:57.00
22 12 LAVRENTYEV Arseniy 2:03:39.6 +11:48.00
23 7 Tong XIN 2:09:13.4 +17:21.80
16 GERCSAK Csaba DNF
20 DYATCHIN Vladimir 1:52:13.7 DSQ +22.10

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