By Phillip Whitten & Michael Collins
SYDNEY, September 18. This evening, the third night of competition at the 2000 Olympic Games, was destined to belong to Australia. In particular, one seventeen year-old Australian with size 17 feet: Ian Thorpe, the human "Thorpedo." But in a stunning upset, the young Aussie superstar did not win his third gold medal of these Olympic Games. To make matters worse, the home team was shut out of Olympic gold for the second straight night, though the Aussies did manage to win three medals of the silver variety.
Women's 100 Back FINALS
Gold – Mocanu ROM 1:00.21 Olympic Record
Silver – Nakamura JPN 1:00.55
Bronze – Zhivanevskaya ESP 1:00.89
4. Maracineanu FRA 1:01.10
5. Inada JPN 1:01.14
6. Bedford USA 1:01.47
7. Calub AUS 1:01.61
8. Ornstedt DEN 1:02.02
The first event of the evening was billed as a two-woman battle between Romania's Diana Mocanu and Japan's Mai Nakamura. The race lived up to expectations.
The Japanese national record-holder took an immediate lead, turning in 29.17, well under world and Olympic record pace, and well ahead of the field. The USA's B.J. Bedford flipped second (29.76), just ahead of the sixteen year-old Romanian (29.80). Nakamura maintained her led until about 75 meters, when she began to falter as Mocanu started to accelerate.
With ten meters to go Mocanu took over the lead and kept lengthening it, stretching for the wall and touching in 1:00.21, an Olympic record and the second fastest time in history, trailing only China's He Cihong's 1:00.16. Nakamura was second in a national record 1:00.55, while Spain's Nina Zhivanevskaya, who turned in fifth place, grabbed the bronze in 1:00.89. B.J. Bedford finished sixth, just ahead of Australia's Dyana Calub.
Men's 200 Free FINALS
Gold – Hoogenband NED 1:45.35 Ties World Record
Silver – Thorpe AUS 1:45.83
Bronze – Rosolino ITA 1:46.65
4. Davis USA 1:46.73 American Record
5. Palmer GBR 1:47.95
6. Salter GBR 1:48.74
7. Say CAN 1:48.76
8. Hackett AUS 1:49.46
Ian Thorpe was magnificent. Ian Thorpe was redefining the sport. Ian Thorpe was invincible. But Holland's Pieter van den Hoogenband, the Flying Dutchman, proved that even the magnificent Thorpe is human. He accomplished the impossible, beating the classy young Aussie in his own pool before a screaming packed house of Thorpie groupies. What's more, he tied his own world record, set yesterday in semis, in the process.
Hoogie took the lead after the first turn and never relinquished it, as both men took the race out faster than anyone before them. Actually, American Josh Davis went with them, turning first at the 50 in 24.42 to Hoogie's 24.44 and Thorpe's 24.48.
At the 100 it was Hoogie,, 50.85; Thorpe, 50.90; and Davis, 51.02. All eight finalists made the turn under 53 seconds.
The third lap saw Thorpe creep up ever so slightly, as the two men turned in identical times of 1:18.21. Davis, falling just off the pace, flipped in 1:18.75, while Italy's Massi Rosolino, the silver med list two nights ago in the 400 meters, had the fastest third 50 and turned in 1:19.31.
As the crowd roared, Thorpe kicked into high gear. But it was the Dutchman who responded, inexorably pulling away before 36,000 disbelieving eyes. When Hoogie slammed the pads, the clock read 1:45.35–tying the world mark he set yesterday. Thorpe was second in 1:45.83, almost half a second back, while Rosolino passed Davis in the final five meters to win the bronze, clocking 1:46.65. Davis did himself proud, lowering the American record for the fourth time this year, with a time of 1:46.73.
Women's 200 Free – semi-finals
Top 8 advance to semi-finals:
1. O'Neill AUS 1:59.37
2. Potec ROM 1:59.54
3. Poll CRC 1:59.63
4. Tchemezova RUS 1:59.69
5. Moravcova SVK 1:59.75
6. Kielgass GER 1:59.78
7. Baranovskaya BLR 1:59.90
8. Wang CHN 1:59.97
Australia's Susie O'Neill turned in the fastest women's 200 free, winning her semifinal in 1:59.37, as it took a sub-two-minute effort to make the final cut. China's Wang Luna just snuck in at 1:59.97.
Costa Rica's Claudia Poll, the defending Olympic champion, swam comfortably for third. Also looking smooth and easy was Slovakia's Martina Moravcova, the silver medalist in the 100 fly last night.
Among the non-qualifiers was world record-holder Franzi Van Almsick of Germany, who faded in the final 50 meters and finished 11th, South Africa's Helene Muller, who swam the second fastest prelim time but was only ninth tonight; and the two Americans, Lindsay Benko and Rada Owen.
Benko was in the hunt through 185 meters, but didn't have the juice or legs to get her home over the final 15 meters. She ended up a disappointing 12th (2:00.27) while Owen, the other American, finished in 16th place.
Men's 100 Back Finals
Gold – Krayzelburg USA 53.72 Olympic Record
Silver – Welsh AUS 54.07
Bronze – Theloke GER 54.82
4. Watson AUS 55.01
5. Kizierowski POL 55.04
6. Walker USA 55.14
7. Driesen GER 55.27
8. Urbach ISR 55.74
"GO, MATT, GO. KICK LENNY'S BUTT!," read the green and gold dancing sign as Australia's Matt Welsh was introduced to the frenzied crowd. But there was no butt-kicking this evening, as America's Lenny Krayzelburg, the world record-holder, held off a determined effort by Welsh to collect the first of what he hopes will be three gold medals in Sydney.
The race was hotly contested, with the USA's Neil Walker getting the best start and coming up first at the 15 meter mark, with a tightly bunched field right behind. Gradually, Krayzelburg and Welsh pulled away until the 35-meter mark, when Lenny began to open up on his Aussie rival.
Lenny, wearing a cap and his knee-length jammers for the first time at the Games, turned in 25.99, just off his world record pace of 25.97, but Welsh was right behind in 26.08 with the second Aussie, Josh Watson, third in 26.39. Welsh, however, came up ahead, as the crowd screamed its approval, hoping to carry Welsh to victory on a wave of emotion. But Lenny is too strong, too cool, too consistent. With 15 meters to go, he opened up some clear water and finished in 53.72. The time, the fourth fastest ever swum (all three faster times belong to Lenny as well), was a new Olympic record. Welsh's 54.07 was a national mark. The bronze medal went to Germany's Steve Theloke in 54.82.
After the race, an exultant Krayzelburg said: "What an exciting night! I was a little nervous at the start but settled down. It was a great race, and I could hear the roar of the crowd. Matt pushed me to my limit."
Women's 200 IM – semi-finals
Top 8 advance to finals:
1. Klochkova UKR 2:13.08
2. Caslaru ROM 2:13.31
3. Teuscher USA 2:13.47
4. Malar CAN 2:13.59
5. Limpert CAN 2:13.90
6. Verevka RUS 2:14.04
7. Rose USA 2:14.40
8. Hagiwara JPN 2:15.09
400 IM champion and world record holder, Yana Klochkova, qualified first in the 200 meter IM semis, clocking 2:13.08, with Beatrice Coada-Caslaru of Romania second in 2:13.31. The Americans had a good showing as both Cristina Teuscher and Gabrielle Rose moved up and qualified for the final in third (2:13.47) and seventh (2:14.40) respectively, both personal best times. Both women will be in the medal hunt in tomorrow's final.
Also swimming well were the Canadians, with Joanne Malar qualifying fourth (2:13.90) and Marianne Limpert fifth (2:14.04.
Russia's Roxanna Verevka, the fastest prelim swimmer, was sixth in the semis. Japan's Tomoko Hagirwara, who shares the year's fastest time with Klochkova, qualified eighth. Two surprise nonqualifiers were China's Chen Yan, who, in 1997, recorded the second fastest time ever swum in this event, and Australia's Elli Overton, picked to contend for a medal.
Men's 200 Fly – semi-finals
Top 8 advance to finals:
1. Malchow USA 1:56.02 Olympic record
2. Poliakov RUS 1:56.78
3. Sylantiev UKR 1:56.81
4. Phelps USA 1:57.00
5. Esposito FRA 1:57.04
6. Norris AUS 1:57.10
7. Parry GBR 1:57.23
8. Pankratov RUS 1:57.24
The men's 200 meter butterfly semifinals offered a preview of what looks to be a very fast, and very exciting final tomorrow night. It took 1:57.24 just to make final eight, setting up what is easily the fastest field in history.
Once again, it was America's Tom Malchow who led the way, his 1:56.02 lowering the Olympic mark of 1:56.25 he set in prelims. Malchow started out slowly, but by 150 meters he was well in command of his heat, defeating Russia's surprising Anatoli Poliakov to the wall. Poliakov finished in a lifetime best 1:56.78.
Fifteen year-old American, Michael Phelps, again demonstrated poise and confidence beyond his years. Dead last at 100 meters, he moved into contention on the third lap, then recorded what was easily the fastest split (30.11) on the final lap to qualify fourth in 1:57.00, still another personal best (and US national age group record for boys 15-16).
Pre-meet medal favorites Denis Sylantiev (Ukraine) and Franck Esposito (France) qualified third and fifth, respectively. Australia's Justin Norris was sixth; Britain's Steve Parry was seventh; and Russia's Denis Pankratov, former world record-holder and double Olympic champion in 1996, was eighth.
Among the nonqualifiers were Japan's Takashi Yamamoto and Britain's James Hickman, the short course world record-holder.
Women's 100 Breast Finals
Gold – Quann USA 1:07.05 American record
Silver – Jones AUS 1:07.49
Bronze – Heyns RSA 1:07.55
4. Poewe RSA 1:07.85
5. Kovacs HUN 1:08.09
6. Tanaka JPN 1:08.37
7. White AUS 1:09.09
8. Gerasch GER 1:09.86
She told us she would do it. Told us, and told us. And tonight, 16 year-old Megan Quann, did just what she said she'd do: win gold in the women's 100 meter breaststroke. And why not? She's pre-lived this race a thousand times in her mind. No, ten thousand.
No, Megan did not swim the 1:05.49 she foresaw. No, she did not break Penny Heyns's world record. And no, she did not break Heyns's Olympic record. She did better than that: she won Olympic gold–and in American record time. To do it, she had to beat South Africa's Heyns, a double Olympic champion in Atlanta four years ago, and the fastest woman ever to swim the breaststroke at any distance. It wasn't easy.
Heyns, who was struggling with her form in prelims and semis, gave it her all right from the start. She turned at the halfway mark in 31.10–just under her world record pace (31.16) and well ahead of her South African teammate, 17-year-old Sarah Poewe (31.56) and Quann (31.65). Heyns kept the pressure on and seemed on her way to a repeat of her 1996 Olympic title, but the pace was too tough, and at 75 meters she began to struggle. Sensing her rival's vulnerability, the American teen picked up her pace, passing her just under the flags. In Lane 2, Australia's Leisel Jones, who just turned 15, also made her move, roaring back from fifth place at the 50.
At the finish it was Quann (1:07.05), Jones (1:07.49) and Heyns (1:07.55), with Poewe a close fourth (1:07.85)–the first time four women had broken 1:08 in the same race. The African Queen had been dethroned. Megan Quann was the new queen of women's breaststroke.
For more stories and photos visit the CBS OLYMPIC SWIMMING SITE.
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