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Switzerland's Nicola Spirig, right, finishes ahead of Sweden's Lisa Norden to win the gold medal in the women's triathlon at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, in London. Norden took the silver.

Charlie Riedel/AP

Sweden's Lisa Norden sure knows what's like to lose a close one.

She and Nicola Spirig of Switzerland finished so close in Saturday's triathlon that they were given the same time of 1 hour 59 minutes 48 seconds. Race officials said later that photos confirmed Spirig finished the race less than 15 centimetres ahead of Norden (officials looked to see whose torso crossed the line first).

It was the second time Norden had lost by such a small margin. In 2009 at the world championships in Madrid she led Andrea Hewitt for much of the race, only to see the New Zealander chase her down at the end and win by 0.03 seconds.

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"This is another one and I tend to be on the wrong side of them," Norden said Saturday after picking up her silver medal. She added that while she was thrilled to win an Olympic medal, she thought at first that maybe she had won. "I hoped maybe I just got my chest out there," she said. "Guess I need bigger boobs for next year."

Norden is not a typical Swede. She spends much of her time training in Australia and speaks with a slight Australian accent. She also has few reservations.

When a Swiss reporter suggested to Spirig that the race was so close officials should award two gold medals, Norden cut Spirig off and said: "That's a great idea. No question."

Australia's Erin Densham, 27, finished third, just two seconds back. When a reporter asked her for some historical perspective on the triathlon, which debuted at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia, Densham was stumped. Asked by an Australian reporter if she got inspired as a young girl by watching the 2000 race, Densham replied: "I didn't actually watch the 2000 triathlon. I wasn't thinking about it at all. Sorry."

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More


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