JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli sprinter Donald Sanford, running with borrowed shoes because his were stolen, failed to qualify for the semifinals in the 400 meters at the London Olympics.
Sanford did not have an opportunity to warm up before Saturday’s race, according to reports, and finished fifth in his heat in 45.71 seconds, his best time this season. He had argued with the judges to have more time to put on a pair of loaner shoes but was denied.
The U.S.-born Sanford told the Israeli media that he could have run faster in his own shoes, which he said were stolen.
His connection to Israel began at Arizona State University, where he met a fellow student named Danielle Dekel, the kibbutznik who would become his wife. Raised in an athletic family — his brother played college football and his sister professional basketball in Europe — he was pursuing a track career at the university.
Sanford married Dekel in 2008 and now lives half the year on her family’s kibbutz, Ein Shemer, on Israel’s northern coast, spending the rest of the year in Arizona. He has an Israeli passport and in March was given permission to compete on behalf of Israel.
On Sunday, Israeli gymnast Alex Shatilov finished sixth in the floor exercise finals, tying with American Jacob Dalton.
Shatilov, 25, had finished 12th last week in the individual all-around final.
The Uzbekistan native immigrated with his family to Israel at the age of 15.