Boston bombing survivor will cheer runners


Boston - A year ago today, John Odom was dead, if only briefly.

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Flowers lie on the pavement at the site of the first explosion along Boylston Street in Boston. File picture: Jessica Rinaldi

Odom had been standing at the Boston Marathon finish line, waiting for his daughter to finish the race, when twin pressure-cooker bombs detonated, tearing arteries in both of the California man's legs. Three people died and more than 260 were injured.

When Dr Jeffrey Kalish of Boston Medical Centre got to him, things did not look good.

“When I first met John, he was technically dead,” Kalish recalled on Monday at the hospital, explaining that Odom's heart stopped twice in the hours after the blasts.

“I didn't think I was going to make it,” said Odom, who remained unconscious for three weeks after the worst mass-casualty attack on US soil since September 11, 2001.

When he came to, it was unclear what recovery would look like or if he would be able to walk again.

Odom was a few months from retirement at the time of the attack. Now 66, he walks with a cane and wears a brace on his left leg. He is able not only to walk, but also to dance and play golf, he told reporters at the hospital during an event to mark the anniversary of the April 15, 2013, attack.

“I'm shooting the golf ball straight and far,” Odom said.

He will be on the sidelines cheering once more at this year's marathon on April 21, which will feature 36 000 competitors, the second-largest field in its 118-year history.

“I want to put closure on last year,” Odom said. “There are more good people in this world than there are bad people.” - Reuters

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