An SMU graduate who finished fourth in the women's triathlon in Beijing again missed her chance at an Olympic medal.
Laura Bennett finished 17th in the triathlon, 2:29 behind the leader in what was likely her last Olympics. Bennett's teammate, Sara Groff, finished fourth.
A photo finish between Nicola Spirig, of Switzerland, and Lisa Norden, of Sweden, was initially too close to call, but the decision came down on the side of Spirig.
Bennett was in the lead group throughout the morning race in Central London. She finished sixth out of the swim portion, a 0.9 mile open-water swim in The Serpentine lake. She was in the top 10 for nearly all of the 43-kilometer biking portion of the race and began the 10-kilometer run around Hyde Park in fifth place.
But Bennett, despite being one of the stronger runners, fell behind in the run near the end of the first lap to 10th place. By the end of the second lap, she had dropped to 11th and to 13th by the end of lap three.
Triathlons often include swims in ocean conditions as opposed to the calmness of the artificial lake in the London course. Waves often create great separation between the racers, as do hills on the bike course. But the 26.6-mile bike course was very flat with only a few turns. The athletes said before the race that it was one of the least technical, least demanding bike courses they have ever ridden.
Bennett, who graduated from SMU with a degree in finance, took up triathlon after college. At age 37, she was the oldest of the 56 competitors from 31 countries who competed in the women's triathlon. Bennett was competing in her second Olympics.
She has been named USA Triathlete of the Year in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2010. She is married to Greg Bennett, a triathlete who finished fourth in Athens competing for Australia.