INDIANAPOLIS, October 9. MARK Foster had something to prove.
The greying, 34 year-old British sprint king had been left off the 2004 British Olympic team despite winning the 50 at his nation's Trials handily and despite his having won silver at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona.
Eight strong, evenly-matched athletes stood on the blocks awaiting the starter's commands, any one of them capable of winning it all. They started together and churned through the first lap in a frothy straight line, all eight flipping together. But it was Foster who pulled away from the field — just a little — on the second lap, and it was Foster who jammed the pads first in 21.58 seconds, eight-hundredths of a second ahead of Sweden's Stefan Nystrand.
It was the fourth time the 6'7" sprinter has won this event since 1993.
The six remaining sprinters were right behind, so tightly bunched it took the electronic clock to tell them apart. Tied for third at 21.71 seconds were the USA's Nick Brunelli and Brazil's Nicholas Santos.
Algeria's Salim Iles, the top swimmer in the semifinals, was only .01 behind, followed by Olympic silver medalist Duje Draganja (21.77), defending champion Jose Meolans of Argentina (21.78) and the USA's Jason Lezak (21.79). At the end, only eight-hundredths of a second separated the medalists and the last-place finisher.