Last night the American swim team won the gold medal in the
Men’s 4 x 100 metre freestyle relay in a fantastic finish that completed
without a doubt one of the greatest comebacks that I have ever personally
witnessed in a sporting event.
The win was made even sweeter due to that fact that we beat
the French team – who were amazing in their own right – after a member of the
French team named Alain Bernard decided that it would be a good idea to make
comments stating that he and his team would smash the team from the USA.
Swim Team USA was behind from the very beginning and for the
majority of the match, with Australia’s Eamon Sullivan breaking the world
record to start his team off, while Team USA’s Michael Phelps broke the
American record in the opening leg as well.
The USA briefly took the lead after Phelps finished with the
swimming of Garrett Weber-Gale, but gave it up during the third leg of the race
as the French team was simply much too fast for American swimmer Cullen Jones.
That’s when it happened: After Jones finished veteran
American swimmer Jason Lezak dove into the pool when it looked like the French
team had the gold medal all but locked going into the final leg with
world-record-holding trash-talking Frenchman Alain Bernard as their anchor
Even the American announcers seemed to think that there was little
hope for Swim Team USA, hoping that team USA could hold on to the silver at
least. Jason Lezak was simply too slow, too old to win, the amount of time that
he had to make up was just too great they said, there was little confidence in
Jason Lezak and little hope for Swim Team USA to bring the gold back home.
During the first 50 metres it didn’t seem that Lezak was
making up much ground on the speedy Bernard, but then in the last 50 metres it seemed
like Lezak was unstoppable, overcoming a nearly full length deficit with his amazing
46.06 second final leg for a .08 second win over the French team.
It was truly great to watch. The entire American team was
just fantastic and Jason Lezak is an absolute hero for his amazing anchor leg
of the race. It easily ranks as one of the greatest performances that I have
ever seen in any sport.
Five teams broke the previous world record, which was set by
the USA earlier in the day: Sweden, Italy, Australia, France, and of course the
gold medalist United States team. Every team that participated broke the
previous Olympic record, which is another amazing statistic and shows the level
of competition in the event.
Here’s a link to the video from the event on the NBC Olympic website. You’ll have to install Microsoft’s Silverlight browser plugin if you use Firefox, but it’s well worth it. The video is absolutely stunning: