The Winner Takes It All

An attack at the World Outgames in Copenhagen last month miraculously left only one person injured -- runner Dean Koga, who just 24 hours later, his hand wrapped in bandages, turned around and won a gold medal.

BY Ross Forman

August 10 2009 11:00 PM ET

DEAN KOGA HOSPITAL OUTGAMES X390 (CTSY CURT JOHNSON) | ADVOCATE.COM

What did you think was happening at this point? I was not sure. I saw the device and thought it was some type of pipe bomb; it was shiny and looked like a tube. I knew it was some kind of explosive device, but I didn't know if there were more to come or what was going to happen.

When you reached the infield of the track, that's where you were attended to, right? Yes. The first aid was there very quickly. They had me lay down because they were going to remove [the shrapnel] from my skin, but it was underneath and [the first-aid attendant] couldn't really tell what it was. So they called an ambulance.

At this point, while being attended to, did you know what was really happening? Were there more explosions? When I was in the hospital or being driven to the hospital, from what I understand, that's when the next explosion hit. And that's when [the attacker] was chased and caught by volunteers and a plain-clothed policeman.

What's going through your mind at this point? I knew it was just a hand injury, and yet it could have been a lot more serious. I was very calm, very alert throughout, never in shock. But I also was puzzled; I didn't know who had done this.

You were very fortunate, knowing how tragic it could have been. I was lucky it was between my small finger and my ring finger, so it didn't cut any nerves or anything like that. No one else got injured. I felt very lucky; it could have hit me in the leg; it could have severed an artery; it could have hit me in the face; it could have hit me or anyone in the eye. I was very fortunate it was not very serious.

When you left the hospital at about 7:30 p.m., what were you thinking? I just wanted to get back to the hotel, see my teammates, reassure them and my coach that everything was OK, that it was not very serious, that I still was going to compete. After the explosion I really wanted to run, because otherwise the rest of the team would have to forfeit. Fortunately, they were able to find a replacement and were able to run.

What was Tuesday night like for you? I had a lot of pain in my hand, and I was taking antibiotics. Curt and I actually had to take the train downtown because there was only one 24-hour pharmacy, so we had to find it.

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