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LONDON, England, July 30. MATT Grevers completed a remarkable run in the men's 100 back, closing out with an Olympic-record victory during the championship heat at the 2012 London Olympics. He also enjoyed having his teammate Nick Thoman giving Team USA a 1-2 sweep atop the podium.
Grevers checked in with a sterling time of 52.18. That time eclipsed the Olympic record of 52.54 set by Aaron Peirsol in his 2008 Beijing Olympic victory. The time came up just short of Grevers' top time of 52.08, that also stands as the textile best. With his first individual Olympic gold medal, Grevers became just the second man in the event's history to ever go from silver to gold the following year. Grevers took second to Peirsol in 2008, and pulled off the triumph tonight. Jeff Rouse of the U.S. is the only other man to pull off this feat, turning silver to gold from 1992 to 1996. The win gave Grevers his third gold medal (two in relays in 2008), and his fifth Olympic medal overall.
“It feels incredible,” Grevers said after his win. “I came so close back in (Beijing) 2008 and when Aaron (Peirsol) retired I knew I stood a chance. Someone upgraded my family's seats to the top so when I won I was looking up to them. So this win is not just for me, but for the whole family. A US one-two shows just how strong we are at the moment. It's a special group of guys and there's no animosity at all. This is a fast Olympics. The emotional strain is massive.”
Thoman raced to second with a 52.92, giving the U.S. its second straight 1-2 finish. A 1-2 by a country is actually pretty standard in the men's 100-meter back, tonight being the 11th time it has happened. The silver is Thoman's first Olympic medal. He earned his first long course world title as part of the 400 medley relay last summer.
“It was great. I was out fast and I battled all the way home,” Thoman said. “I'm so excited right now. It turned out the way I've been training (for) all this time. When I looked up at the scoreboard and saw Matthew next to me in first place, I was so happy I got to share this moment with a teammate. We are all members of team USA. They're great teammates and we all help push each other. They're great guys and this result is down to everyone.”
Japan's Ryosuke Irie snared bronze in 52.97, his first Olympic medal as well. He placed fifth in the 200 back during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He became the second man from Japan in three Olympiads to take bronze, as Tomomi Morita placed third in 2004.
“Getting a medal was very important to me and before the race when I saw all the Japanese flags (in the spectators' stands) I felt very proud,” Irie said. “Four years ago, I was expected to be a young ace and I could not get any medal. That was my incentive to become stonger.”
France's Camille Lacourt, and early favorite in the event after winning the world title last summer, finished off the podium with a fourth-place 53.08. That time is nearly a second off his best time of 52.11 from Budapest in August 2010.
“I got stuck, I worked really hard so I'm disappointed and of course there is some frustration,” Lacourt said. “I will try to pick myself up. Do what I've got to do. My only regret is that we can't find what we got to do to make it work.”
Great Britain's Liam Tancock (53.35), Germany's Helge Meeuw (53.48), Australia's Hayden Stoeckel (53.55) and China's Cheng Feiyi (53.77) also competed in the finale.
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