I tuned in to watch some Olympic competition last night. Michael Phelps was going for his second gold medal out of his attempted record-breaking 8 golds. His attempt to surpass Mark Spitz record of 7 gold medals which have stood since 1972 started out well when he won the 400 meter individual medley. Of all his 8 attempts, the 400 IM and the 4×100 relays were considered the most unlikely.
The French were highly favored to win this 4×100, and they were very arrogant. Alain Bernard, a member of the French relay team even stated that they were going to “smash” the Americans. Well, what happened was beautiful! Phelps opened the relay with the first leg. He didn’t give us the lead, but he did well. Garrett Weber-Gale over the next 100 M put us in a good position to win, then Cullen Jones let things start slipping away in the third leg. When Jason Lezak took the fourth leg, I felt our chances slipping. Alain Bernard was the French anchor who has so arrogantly stated that the French would “smash” us. He was also one of the “no weak links” French relay members who were turning in lightning fast splits for the past several months. As they reached the turn at 50 meters, the lead was more than half a body length. Lezak was just too far back. I told my wife the race was over. The commentator said that the US was trying to hold on for a silver with the Aussies pursuing. Then with about 35 meters left, something happened. The commentator said something to the effect of “Lezak is making a run” and I told Marcela he was just hyping it up. Lezak really did start tightening up on the leader. With 20 meters left, he was within one arm’s length. “There isn’t enough left, it’s over,” I told Marcela. 5 meters left and he is moving up fast! He draws even at the last two strokes and stretches….
UNBELIEVABLE! How did that happen? The French look like someone just beat them up and stole their croissants. I don’t believe what I just saw. Phelps is flexing and going crazy, Weber-Gale is trying to upstage Phelps flexing in front of him, everyone is hugging, and Lezak just turned in the fastest split in Olympic 4×100 history! For me, that was the most exciting swimming event I have ever seen. It is up there as the greatest Olympic moment I have watched.
Phelps is now 2 for 2, with only 6 more gold medals to go.