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LONDON, England, July 28. CHINA's Sun Yang, who downed one hallowed mark with a world record in the men's 1500 free last summer, was at it again tonight in the men's 400-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics.
Sun blasted a time of 3:40.14, bettering his Asian record of 3:40.29, and besting the Olympic record of 3:40.59 set by legendary Ian Thorpe at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Sun did, however, come up just shy of the world record of Paul Biedermann (3:40.07) and the textile best of Thorpe (3:40.08). With the win, Sun became the first man from China to win a gold medal any Olympic swimming event in history. Zhang Lin previously became the first man ever with a medal of any color when he placed second in 2008 with a 3:42.44.
“I swam a good race myself and I did not look at the others,” Sun said. “I thought that in the first 200 (metres) maybe I would be ahead. In training I've been working on the final 200 metres of the race. Today's win was because of my training. I've been training in Australia.
“I used my speed to fly past the Korean,” Sun continued. “Some people were saying that because of the disqualification (PARK was disqualified then reinstated) I would win the race and that I could not defeat Park but I used my swim to fight back.”
The man Zhang placed second to, South Korea's Tae Hwan Park, shook off a dramatic day that involved an overturned preliminary disqualification, to claim silver this evening with a 3:42.06. That swim finished just off his lifetime best of 3:41.53 from November 2010, and gave him his third Olympic medal. He won gold in 2008 in this event, as well as silver in the 200 free that year as well.
“I felt bad. I was almost heartbroken, but I decided I would not think about it,” Park said about his disqualification. “I would not regret it even if I did not get another chance. There was a problem but now it is solved. I went as fast as I could [tonight]. I worked well and trained well so I did as best as I could.”
USA's Peter Vanderkaay claimed his fourth Olympic medal, and second individual bronze, with a third-place 3:44.69. That swim came up just shy of the American textile best of 3:44.11 posted by Klete Keller at the 2004 Athens Games en route to a bronze of his own.
China's Hao Yun (3:46.02), USA's Conor Dwyer (3:46.39), Hungary's Gergo Kis (3:47.03), Great Britain's David Carry (3:48.62) and Australia's Ryan Napoleon (3:49.25) also vied for the gold medal this evening.
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