Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympic Swimming

That was an incredibly fun week of Olympics competition! For us it was mostly about the exciting swimming events (and a little about gymnastics). Naturally, the biggest news in swimming (and of the Olympics thus far) was Michael Phelps's eight gold medals. But the most dramatic and exciting moment of the week belonged to Jason Lezak in the anchor leg of the 4x100 meter freestyle relay: how do you spot the world champion (France's Alain Bernard) almost a body length lead and then find some hidden strength to close the gap in the last 25 meters and out-touch Bernard by eight one-hundredth of a second?! Of course, Phelps's victory in the 100 fly was even closer---by powering to the finish with a half stroke he out-touched Serbia's Cavic (who was gliding to the finish) by the smallest possible margin (one one-hundredth of a second)!

There were plenty of other exciting races. In the womens 400 meter individual medley Katie Hoff, the reigning world record holder, led much of way and appeared to have a stranglehold on the race. But Stephanie Rice of Australia tracked her down and passed her toward the end to win gold. In the 200 meter breast stroke, Rebecca Soni caught up with and passed Australia's powerful Liesel Jones. Soni looked strong and smooth at the finish, while Jones had started faltering on the final 50. And, best of all, Dara Torres won a silver for all us middle-aged geezers! Unfortunately, she wasn't as lucky as Phelps---she lost the gold by one one-hundredth of a second.

All in all, a great week of swimming!

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