Inky Overpowers the Field, Repeats as 50 Free Champion

By Phillip Whitten

ATHENS, August 21. HOLLAND's Inky De Bruijn stamped her name indelibly in the record book tonight, the final night of competition at the XXVIIIth Olympic Games here in Athens, when she repeated as Olympic champion in the 50 meter freestyle. In winning, she became the first woman ever to win swimming's greatest test of raw speed for two consecutive Olmpiads.

De Bruijn exploded from the start and quickly put an end to whatever doubt there might have been as to the outcome of this race, as she blazed the one-lap sprint in 24.56 seconds.

The real battle was for silver and bronze and, as it turned out, only 4-hundredths of a second separated second place from fourth, with France's Malia Metella (pictured below) out-touching Australia's Libby Lenton for silver, 24.89 to 24.91, with Sweden's Therese Alshammar fourth in 24.93, two-hundredths out of the medals.

The USA's Kara Lynn Joyce was fifth in a PR 25.00, Aussie Michelle Engelsman sixth in 25.11.

Jenny Thompson, in her final individual Olympic appearance, was seventh in 25.11, while Brazilian newcomer Flavia Cazolatto, touched eighth in 25.20.

Inky had a gleaming smile after her race and she explained why, “It was an amazing feeling, my eight gold medal and on the last day of the program what a climax, I can’t find words to express it. The smile on my face will stay there for a couple more weeks.

“There has been so much pressure on me given the other results. Finally I get the gold. I’m just going to enjoy the medal ceremony, I don’t know if I’ll will be there for the next Olympics,” she said.

“It’s my birthday next week so this is a special birthday present, I had good speed and trained hard, it’s a very satisfying feeling." Inky finished here with one gold, a silver and two bronze.

Aussie Libby Lenton who came into this meet as world record-holder in the two-lap race but missed the final, was relieved to have broken through for her first individual medal.

“I am so happy, it was amazing, it’s more than I could have hoped for, a dream come true for me. I swam the best race I could and got third. There have been some huge 'ups' and 'downs'. I had a huge high at the beginning of the week in the relay, then a low in my individual 100 freestlye. I've definitely come away from this competition a better athlete," she said.

Women 50m Freestyle Finals's

Record Name NOC Location Date
WR 24.13 de BRUIJN Inge NED Sydney (AUS) 22 SEP 2000
OR 24.13 de BRUIJN Inge NED Sydney (AUS) 22 SEP 2000

Event No: 29

Rank Lane Name NOC R.T. Time Time
1 4 de BRUIJN Inge NED 0.76 24.58

2 3 METELLA Malia FRA 0.76 24.89
3 5 LENTON Lisbeth AUS 0.77 24.91
4 7 ALSHAMMAR Therese SWE 0.76 24.93
5 6 JOYCE Kara Lynn USA 0.82 25.00
6 2 ENGELSMAN Michelle AUS 0.71 25.06
7 1 THOMPSON Jenny USA 0.71 25.11
8 8 CAZZIOLATO Flavia BRA 0.73 25.20

French silver medalist 50 free