Phelps gets second gold as records tumble
11 August 2008
BEIJING – Four world records tumbled in a remarkable second day of Olympic swimming as American superstar Michael Phelps’ attempt to win an unprecedented eight gold medals stayed on track.
In shooting, Abhinav Bindra won India’s first ever Olympic gold medal in an individual event, while Japan’s women toppled China’s top-seeded 2004 champions in a massive badminton upset.
Out of competition, the first doping case of the Beijing Olympics saw Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno kicked out of the Games after testing positive for the blood booster EPO.
Phelps’ hopes of eight gold medals stayed on course in the 4x100m relay thanks to a gigantic final effort from teammate Jason Lezak in the anchor leg.
His last-gasp touch enabled the Americans to beat France in a world record 3 minutes 8.24 seconds, slashing an astonishing 3.99 seconds off the world record they set in Sunday’s semi-finals.
French anchor Alain Bernard – whose world record of earlier this year had just been broken by Australia’s opener Eamon Sullivan – had a 0.41-second lead going into the final lap.
He turned first and looked on course to beat the Americans but Lezak, at 32 their oldest swimmer, managed a remarkable comeback to push past Bernard.
In an untypical burst of emotion, Phelps threw up his arms and cheered loudly with the rest of the team. "Jason in the last 50 metres was incredible. At the end, as you could see, I was pretty excited, I was very emotional," he said.
In the remarkable race, Australian opening swimmer Eamon Sullivan broke the 100m world record in a time of 47.24, France swam a European record 3:08.32 minutes and Australia took bronze with 3:09.91 as the top five teams were faster than the 15-hour-old former record from a US reserve team in the heats.
The two world records set in the relay brought the day’s tally to four, with Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry and Japan’s Kosuke Kitajima providing the other two in the 100m breaststroke women’s semis and men’s final for seven records overall in the Beijing Water Cube.
First gold of the day went to Australian Lisbeth Trickett, who won the women’s 100m butterfly in 56.73 seconds from Christine Magnuson of the US (57.10) and Jessicah Schipper of Australia (57.25), missing the eight-year-old world record of Dutch Inge de Bruijn by a mere 12 hundredths.
In the 100m breaststroke, Kitajima repeated his gold medal performance from Athens, winning in a world record time of 58.91 seconds, taking 0.22 seconds off the previous mark of 59.13 seconds set by American Brendan Hansen two years ago.
Alexander Dale Oen gave Norway a first swim medal, a silver in 59.20, and Frenchman Hugues Duboscq took bronze in 59.37 seconds.
Briton Rebecca Adlington stunned American favourite Katie Hoff to win gold in the women’s 400m freestyle in 4:03.22. Adlington was lying fourth at the last turn, but pulled out all the stops on the last lap to edge out her American rival by just 0.07.
In the women’s 100m breaststroke semis, Coventry had 58.77 seconds to break the world record of 58.97 set by Natalie Coughlin at the US trials last month.
On the shooting range, the individual gold medal that had always eluded India came at last when Abhinav Bindra, already world champion, won the men’s 10 metre air rifle.
He claimed victory with a total of 700.5 points, with defending champion Zhu Qinan of China taking silver with 699.7 and Finland’s Henri Hakkinen bronze with 699.4.
While India has taken Olympic team gold eight times in men’s field hockey, individual success had never happened until Monday.
In badminton, Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna of Japan produced a three-set comeback win over the top-seeded 2004 champions Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen of China.
The unseeded Japanese shocked the big crowd at the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium with an 8-21, 23-21, 21-14 quarter-final triumph in the women’s doubles event.
The result was a setback for the Chinese, who want to improve on their showing from the 2004 Olympics in Athens where they won three of five gold medals.
It was meanwhile announced that Spanish cyclist Maria Isabel Moreno had been kicked out of the Games after she tested positive for the blood booster EPO, making her the first doping case in Beijing.
Moreno, 27, failed a test conducted on 31 July in the Olympic village and according to International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies flew home the same night before the test results were known. She was due to compete in the road time trial.
[dpa / Expatica]
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