Full wall-to-wall coverage, including photo galleries, athlete interviews, recaps and columns are available at the Event Landing Page.
LONDON, England, August 4. SHAKING off a potential false start, that officials later ruled was due to fan noise, China's Sun Yang put together the most impressive distance freestyle swim in the history of swimming with a relentless attack on his world record in the men's 1500-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sun quickly dropped two seconds under world record pace and never looked back as he blitzed both the field and his global standard from last summer's World Championships with a stunning 14:31.02. That swim crushed his previous world record of 14:34.14, which had in turned cleared what had been thought of as the untouchable global mark of 14:34.56 set by Grant Hackett in 2001. With his swim, Sun has now pushed the record into a different universe. Incidentally, Sun also smashed the Olympic record of 14:38.92 set by Hackett in Beijing.
“From 2008 until now I've put a lot of effort in and this really means a lot to me,” Sun said after an emotional response to winning. “The USA have done it and Europeans have done it so why can't a Chinese do it?”
Sun also won in dominant fashion with an 8.61-second triumph over Canada's Ryan Cochrane (14:39.63). That's not the largest margin of victory ever in the event as George Hodgson of Canada beat Great Britain's Jack Hatfield by 39 seconds in 1912, but it is the biggest margin of victory since Kieren Perkins beat teammate Glen Housman, 14:43.48 to 14:55.29 in 1992.
“I didn't set up any aims or objectives for the record before the race,” Sun said “But my coach did because I am in a good condition and there was a possibility (I could break the record). The environment helped me to achieve the objective and I did it. Maybe you don't understand [about his emotional reaction]. I really, really wanted to get this gold medal. I didn't expect the little accident to happen at the start. I think it's really not easy to adjust from this accident and to achieve this result. I put a great deal of effort into swimming. I couldn't hear the beep – there was some noise. I can't even think about it. I was really worried. I looked at my parents at first. I don't know what they were thinking at that moment and I had to prove myself if I was given a second chance. No. It was not a big problem. I can do it as long as I had the chance. I think it's really good and I have achieved my objectives. Not only me, but my coach and my parents have put a great deal of effort into this result.”
Heading into these Olympics, China had never had a male Olympic gold medalist, and Zhang Lin was the only medalist of any kind. Sun finished this week with his second gold medal after winning the 400 free on the first night, and his four overall medal with a silver in the 200 free and bronze in the 800 free relay.
Sun's false start that wasn't proved to be the third time an apparent false start was overturned this week. First, Tae Hwan Park's 400 freestyle preliminary false start had to be overturned by appeal. Then, USA's Breeja Larson's apparent false start in the 100 breast was called back on the spot.
Cochrane, meanwhile, earned silver after taking bronze in 2008. His time pushed him to fourth all time, and gave Canada its fourth medal in the event's history. Defending champion Ous Mellouli of Tunisia earned bronze in 14:40.31.
South Korea's Tae Hwan Park (14:50.61) and Italy's Grigorio Paltrinieri (14:51.92) placed fourth and fifth, and in just his seventh 1500-meter freestyle competitive swim ever, USA's Connor Jaeger touched sixth in 14:52.99. Poland's Mateusz Sawrymowicz (14:54.32) and Great Britain's Daniel Fogg (15:00.76) rounded out the finale.
Results links, with splits, when available are located at the bottom of the article. Hit refresh to make sure you have the latest version of the story.
You can download, read, and save this special issue by clicking here.