Meseret Defar’s religious image confounds AP caption writers!/JamesMartinSJ/status/234295547480137728

The image of Ethiopian runner Meseret Defar clutching an image of the Madonna and Child to her face after her victory in the Olympic women’s 5,000 meter final is a striking one — but the accompanying caption seems to have missed an important if obvious detail.

The Associated Press’s captions for the images refer to the icon as simply “a picture.” Reuters took the extra step of referring to “a piece of cloth with an image of a religious icon.”

Twitter followers were more than happy to help identify the mysterious woman and child.

Virgin Mary 'crosses the finish line' with Olympic gold runner Ethiopia's Meseret Defar, gold in the 5000m final

— Cristina Saponaro (@Key3107) August 11, 2012

Meseret Defar ran with an image of the Virgin Mary and won gold in London. #Catholic

— Kevin Valle Díaz (@KevinValleDiaz) August 11, 2012

Meseret Defar. Olympic 10,000m champion, who promptly pays homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

— (@je_mc2) August 10, 2012

Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, gold medalist 5000m and the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary! Her help cometh from the Lord!!

— Michael Oberabor (@ajokpa) August 10, 2012

Inspiring! Meseret Defar of Ethiopia holds up a picture of the Virgin Mary after winning Olympic gold.

— Joel & Lisa Schmidt (@PracticingCath) August 10, 2012

Meseret Defar the Ethopian runner has impressed me she ran wit a pic of mary mother of jesus and jesu…the power of God right there wit her

— Lush Angela (@crazycoollush) August 10, 2012

Nice touch by Meseret Defar to pull out that Holy Mary holding Jesus memento. Nice.

— Luis Fabiano (@ilfabiano) August 10, 2012

Perhaps the AP was trying to spare readers’ feelings, following revelations after Gabby Douglas’ wins that too much Jesus talk can be “unnerving” to the media.

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