Chasing Silver: The 200m Usain Bolt Olympic Race of 2008

Why We Watch@@WhyWeWatchOfficial AccountJune 21, 2012

All eyes were on the Men's 200m Track & Field race in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of the event's newest star, Usain Bolt. But there ended up being more to that race than just a world record.

In the minutes following the race, American bronze medalist Wallace Spearmon was disqualified mid-victory lap for stepping out of his lane. The infraction bumped up American fourth-place finisher Shawn Crawford onto the podium.

Unbelievably, two hours later, silver medalist Churandy Martina then found out that he, too, was disqualified for stepping on the line, giving Crawford the silver and American Walter Dix the bronze. 

Martina, who is from Curacao, was running for Netherlands Antilles that year. The disqualification was disputed by his country, but the second Olympic medal in Netherlands Antilles history would ultimately be lost.

And just like that, Martina's place in history was gone. 

Crawford accepted the silver for the United States, but a week later, he did something unheard of for an Olympic athlete. In an extraordinary act of sportsmanship, he gave his medal to Martina. 

Crawford, a former gold medalist in the 200m race, didn't feel right about keeping the medal since it wasn't truly his win. Martina was surprised, but extremely grateful.

Four years later, Martina will race in the 200m in London hoping to bring home a medal for himself, his country and the record books.


Aimee Denaro, Producer

Fred Widland, Editor

Nicolas Oliver, Camera (Orlando)

James Weitz, Camera (Los Angeles)

Lindsay Rappaport, “B” Camera (Los Angeles)

Thanks to:


NBC Sports Group

Churandy Martina

Shawn Crawford


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