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Marathon Survivor

Gabriela Andersen-Scheiss was a ski instructor in the U.S. state of Idaho when she represented Switzerland at the 1984 Olympics. Twenty minutes after the winner, Joan Benoit, crossed the finish line, the 39-year-old Andersen-Scheiss staggered into the stadium, suffering from heat prostration. Her right leg was stiff and her left arm was hanging limply by her side. While spectators gasped in horror, doctors noted that she was perspiring - a good sign - and they let her continue. For 5 minutes and 44 seconds, she lurched along the final lap around the track, occasionally stopping and holding her head. Finally she fell across the finish line and into the arms of waiting medics. Andersen-Scheiss placed 37th. Remarkably, she recovered rapidly and was released by medical personnel only two hours later.

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