ATHENS, Greece – The defrocked Irish priest who bolted from the crowd and tackled the marathon (search) leader about three miles from the finish Sunday has been arrested before for disrupting sporting events.
Cornelius Horan, 57, was wearing a green beret, a red kilt and knee-high green socks when he attacked Brazilian runner Vanderlei Lima (search), knocking him into the crowd. Lima was able to recover and finish, but had to settle for the bronze medal.
"I was scared, because I didn't know what could happen to me, whether he was armed with a knife, a revolver or something and whether he was going to kill me," Lima said. "That's what cost me the gold medal."
The Brazilian track federation protested the result and sought a duplicate gold medal for Lima, but the appeal was rejected.
"I'm not going to cry forever about the incident, although it broke my concentration," Lima said, "but I managed to finish and the bronze medal in such a difficult marathon is also a great achievement."
The appeals jurors said they "would like to express their sympathy toward the athlete and regret the unfortunate incident. This shall not happen in the future and the security should be reinforced for road events. The final results can unfortunately not be changed."
Athens police sources identified the intruder as Cornelius Horan, who has been barred from practicing as a priest for the past decade. He once published a book called "A glorious new world very soon to come" that predicted the world would soon end.
The attacker Sunday night had a piece of paper attached to his back bearing the message: "The Grand Prix Priest Israel Fulfillment of Prophecy Says the Bible."
In July 2003, Horan, in a costume similar to Sunday's, ran onto the track at the British Grand Prix in the middle of the race and stayed there for more than 20 seconds, forcing Formula One racers traveling at more than 200 mph to swerve around him. He was carrying a sign that said: "Read the Bible -- the Bible is always right."
British authorities said Horan also attempted a protest on Wimbledon's Center Court during a rain break, and tried to disrupt cricket and rugby matches.
On Sunday, Horan jumped from the crowd, ran across the street and grabbed Lima. A policeman following the leader on a bicycle jumped off and helped free the Brazilian.
Lima, whose once-large lead had been slowly shrinking, was able to get back into the race. But he lost several seconds as a result of the attack, and eventually was overtaken by Stefano Baldini of Italy and Mebrahtom Keflezighi of the United States. Lima finished third.
When the incident occurred, dozens of flag-waving Brazilian fans at the stadium that marked the marathon's end, watching the front-runners on a giant screen, suddenly went silent and the huge crowd gasped.
The police sources said Horan arrived in Athens just before dawn Sunday aboard a British Airways flight. They said Horan apparently acted because he believed that Christian Judgment Day (search) was coming.
Horan would be taken to a prosecutor on Monday, the sources said. It was unclear if he would be charged or remanded for psychiatric evaluation.