LONDON — Another major meet, another tumble to the track for American Morgan Uceny.
Uceny was tripped from behind on the last lap in the 1,500-meter final Friday night, landing hard on her right knee and hip. She smacked her palms against the surface before bursting into tears.
She was in a position to challenge for a medal, but her performance will go down as "DNF" — did not finish. Uceny was helped into the medical area after the race and then left the stadium without speaking to reporters.
At last year's world championships, the Californian entered the race as one of the top runners. But she fell before finishing a disappointing 10th.
This time, there was no getting up.
She was on her hands and knees, staring at the track in disbelief, when Asli Cakir Alptekin of Turkey won the race and left the track with blood dripping from her leg.
Uceny's fall was a reminder of what happened to Mary (Decker) Slaney, an overwhelming favorite to win gold in the 3,000 at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. In one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history, Slaney collided with barefooted runner Zola Budd and tumbled to the track.
In tears, her eventual husband, British Olympic discus thrower Richard Slaney, helped her from the track.
No one was all that sure what happened to Uceny. She was comfortably cruising along before crashing to the ground. British runner Lisa Dobriskey was tucked in right behind Uceny and didn't get a good look at what took place.
"Too many bodies running together and too comfortably," Dobriskey said. "I think someone got tangled up with her. She just went flying — with quite a big bang.
"But it wasn't me that clipped her. It was just too many bodies."