Weir wins 4th gold at London Paralympics

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By STEVE DOUGLAS, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Oscar Pistorius secured his status as the icon of the London Paralympics by winning gold in the final track event in the Olympic Stadium.

As for the star of the games, look no further than British wheelchair racer David Weir.

The man nicknamed the "Weirwolf of London" has become a household name in the host nation by winning the 800 meters, 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters.

And he completed his clean sweep of golds on Sunday, timing his sprint finish to perfection to win the wheelchair marathon in blazing sunshine along the streets of the capital in a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes, 20 seconds.

Thousands of spectators lined the route of the marathon to cheer on the 33-year-old Weir, who was competing in his home city nearly five months after winning the London Marathon for the sixth time.

"It's just amazing; I am lost for words," Weir said. "I knew I had to be in some sort of super-human state to win four gold medals and I've done it."

It was Britain's 34th gold of the games, with the host nation winning 120 medals in total to finish third in the overall table behind China (231 medals, 95 golds) and Russia (102 medals, 36 golds). The United States placed sixth overall, with 98 medals and 31 gold.

Pistorius' resounding victory in the 400 on Saturday earned him a second gold medal of the games, adding to a victory in the 4x100 relay in a week when he surrendered his 100 and 200 titles.

The South African double amputee is the most famous Paralympian, becoming the first athlete to take part in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Yet, his displays have been overshadowed in London by those of Weir, who has been greeted by a so-called "Wall of Sound" from fans when he raced down the home straight. Many teammates also created a ritual of howling as he crossed the line, in reference to his nickname.

"To tell you the truth, every race I did in that stadium I didn't feel under pressure because the crowd was behind you if you won, lost or anything," said Weir, whose image has adorned billboards during the Paralympics.

"It didn't matter what position you came in, they were still behind you and they still loved you."

Weir, who along with swimmer Ellie Simmonds and cyclist Sarah Storey is the host country's's most famous current Paralympian, was the favorite for the marathon. He was among a group of six racers that broke away early as the field sped past a host of London landmarks, including St. Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.

As the finish line came into sight, Weir was battling with Marcel Hug of Switzerland and Kurt Fearnley of Australia for gold. The Briton pulled away to win by a second in a season-best time.

"I did have lots of dreams of winning four gold medals but I think everybody has those dreams," Weir said. "I knew I was capable of doing it."

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