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 11 2009 12:00 AM ET

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

On July 29, about 24 hours after the attack, you were back on the track. And you didn't just compete -- you won a gold medal. What did that mean to you? What did that say? I wanted to go out there and compete, do as well as I could. I just wanted people to know that it was not going to deter me from competing, participating. Plus, I wanted to be there to support my teammates; I wanted to support them in all of their events and races.

As you now reflect back on Outgames, what are your feelings? The Tuesday [attack] was just a big distraction, for me and the rest of the team. But we still performed great. As a team we won over 100 medals.

Do you know the accused attacker? Have you met him? No.

If you met him, what would you say to him? I'm glad I didn't. They told me that there was the possibility that I would have to go to court before I left, and that left me very restless and I didn't sleep very well with the thought of having to come face-to-face with the person.

So if you had met him, what would you have said? I don't think there's much you can say to a person like that. You couldn't ask him "Why?" because his intent clearly was hate; he either wanted to cause harm or just disrupt the whole event.

You don't sound bitter or angry at all. I think if the injury was worse, I would be very angry. But there's not much you can do to change people like that. I'd like to think that the Outgames and the Gay Games are very positive [events] and that this was just an isolated incident, hopefully.

You've said you don't plan on attending the 2010 Gay Games, correct? That is correct. Our coach is taking a year off, so I think a lot of team members are not going to Cologne for that reason.

Tags: Sports

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