By Stephen J. Thomas
ATHENS, Greece. August 19. SwimInfo hs learned that the disqualification of Aaron Peirsol in the 200m backstroke was, in fact, overturned by the FINA technical committee before US team officials had lodged a protest.
The decision to reinstate Aaron Peirsol after he was disqualified for an alleged incorrect turn at the 150 mark was overturned less than fifteen minutes after the original decision, and he was duly presented with the gold medal to cheers of a supportive crowd.
Peirsol broke the Olympic record of 1:55.14 he set in the semifinals, clocking 1:54.95, the second fastest in history and just 0.21 of a second outside his own world record. Peirsol is clearly the dominant man over this race: he now holds seven of the ten fastest times over the four laps and the decision to reinstate the 21-year-old was roundly applauded by his competitors.
The race was always going to be for the minor medals and it was Stanford-based Austrian, Marcus Rogan, who took his dorsal second silver in 1:57.35 while Romanian Razvan Florea came from fifth in the final lap to take the bronze in 1:57.56 from Brit james Goddard (1:57.76).
When asked about his reaction to Peirsol’s disqualification, Rogan said: "I spoke to Aaron on pool deck when the DQ was announced. He said he did not do anything wrong and I believed him. I know him well and I know Aaron Peirsol would not lie. He is the best backstroker in the world and deserved the gold medal, so I said 'just wait and perhaps justice will prevail.' This is the correct result. Any other decision would be an injustice. I am happy with the silver medal."