Michael Phelps, 2 For 2 Gold Medals as US 4x100m Freestyle Relay Team Smash Record and Shut the French Up with World Record


“We’re going to smash them.” (Alain Bernard, French swimmer’s comments regarding America swimmers prior to race)

Oh “contraire mon aime”. Next time you may want to “fermez votre bouche” before an Olympic race when Michael Phelps and company are involved. The Americans teach the French a lesson in motivational chalk board material and make the French eat some major American humble pie.

American swimmer Michael Phelps won his second gold medal of the Beijing USA_SwimmersOlympics on his way to a potential 8 golds; however, this time it was Team America that provided the win. Michael Phelps may in fact win individual honors of becoming the first Olympian ever to win 8 gold medals at a single Olympics; however, this team relay will go down in history as the signature event of the Beijing Olympics in American sports history and one of the greatest team efforts ever.

It was one for the Ages. It has been called the greatest swimming relay race in history. If you saw it, it was. A Hollywood movie could not have been better scripted than how this event played out. The American 4×100 meter relay team, Michael Phelps, Garret Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak, swam one for the ages as they won Olympic gold and smashed the world record by nearly 4 seconds. Five of the teams that swam in the relay all finished ahead of the old record.

Video below, you have to watch it to believe it if you have not seen it yet. It was not quite Miracle on Ice of 1980 USA Olympic hockey fame, but it was damn close. This is what Olympic spirit of competition is all about and … NEVER SAY NEVER … It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

VIDEO, an instant Olympic classic

The Americans were behind France going into the final leg with when US anchor Jason Lezak dove into the water trailing former world record holder Bernard of France by almost six-tenths of a second. The rest as they say is history as the almost inconceivable was done. Lezak came all the way back and the Americans beat the French. Lezak swam an almost unheard of time of 46.06, the fastest split in history by almost three-quarters of a second.

Oh, by the way, Phelps set an American record leading off, 47.51. But it was Lezak’s anchor that everyone will remember. He got down and back in a staggering 46.06, the fastest relay leg in history though it doesn’t count as an official record.

Lezak looked at the scoreboard, then leaped out of the water with an emphatic fist pump.

“I knew I was going to have to swim out of my mind,” Lezak said. “Still right now, I’m in disbelief.”

Call this race, inconceivable, unimaginable or impossible as France was the overwhelming favorites to win and had been talking smack leading up to the race and were predicting gold as they boasted, “We’re going to smash them.”

It was a euphoric moment that had roots earlier in the day, from when Phelps sought out Weber-Gale to tell him of Bernard’s acidic boast: “The Americans? We’re going to smash them.”

“It fired me up more than anything else,” Phelps said. “I told Garrett and he said ‘You know what? We’re going to let our swimming do the talking. ”

Posted August 11, 2008 by
heroes, Main, Olympics, Sports | 11 comments

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  • Comments

    11 Responses to “Michael Phelps, 2 For 2 Gold Medals as US 4x100m Freestyle Relay Team Smash Record and Shut the French Up with World Record”

    1. Scared Monkeys on August 11th, 2008 6:20 am

      Its been a long time since I stood in front of my TV screaming at the top of my lungs rooting on Olympians. The commercialization and professionalism of the Olympics has made it tough.

      I can remember almost pulling stitches after surgery in 1980 when the hockey team beat the Russians.

      Last night I became a kid all over again and welled up with American Olympic pride.

      Thank you 4x100m swim team. You made us all believers again in the Olympic competition and the never say never spirit.


    2. da_wench on August 11th, 2008 9:51 am

      That was one very exciting race! Ha ha the French and their big mouths!

    3. FL on August 11th, 2008 9:52 am

      Did you see the press conference two or three days ago before the 4 x 100 meter women relay ? The coach of the US said it was a race between the US and Australia. One of the reporters asked him which country holds the WR for the 4 x 100 women ralay. He did not know. Neither Australia nor the US won the race. Now guess what country holds the WR *and* won this race two days ago ?

    4. Not As Stupid As You Think on August 11th, 2008 10:54 am

      FL: Ya — We know the Netherlands. No one has ever said the dutch are not athletically strong. Before the “Van der Sloots and friends” came and dirtied the name and reputation of the Dutch and the Netherlands, the country was a quiet low-key type of country that had international status and respect! In the Olympics many of the winning athletes, especially in the Winter games, are from the Netherlands!

      The issue here was that the French team kept “trash talking” about how they were going to beat the American team. That was what made the American victory so sweet!!

      The Netherland team didn’t bad-mouth the American’s before the race. In fact, as soon as the girls from the Netherlands won, the American swimmers were right there to be one of the first to congratulate them!

    5. FL on August 11th, 2008 2:03 pm

      @Not As Stupid As You Think:
      Just another funny story today: For unknown reasons Michael Phelps refuse to speak to reporters exept when they are from the US (something with contracts???). The Dutch television managed to interview him but had to use a little trick . A Dutch reporter asked Michael if he would give an interview for the Dutch television. He refused (no surprise). Another Dutch reporter said that Inge de Bruijn (4 medals in 2004) would like to talk to him (she is now a reporter for the same Dutch television). Suprise, surprise …. he couldn’t say ‘no’ and he gave an interview. :-) . Mission accomplished.

    6. LilPuma on August 12th, 2008 9:19 am

      Talking a little smack is part of sports. I remember so many times in the 90′s, rookies and coaches would trash the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan and there’s nothing better to get a real competitor pushing themself a little bit harder. So the French may have actually helped. Michael Phelps & Co. won it by a nose. Reminds me of Alex Afleet being tripped up by another horse and going on to win. It’s hard work, determination and “heart”, that something unknown that some have and it gives us all something to cheer for, something to emulate. I always feel a sense of American pride watching the Olympics, but at the same time, I love seeing those smaller countries, who seemingly don’t have a chance, come through with unexpected victories. Rare, but it happens.

      GO USA

    7. LilPuma on August 12th, 2008 9:29 am

      5. FL I don’t think the Dutch are stupid at all. Learning a little history of the “land reclaimed from the sea” and what many of the Dutch did to help Jews escape Nazi Germany, flags on windmills, Delft, dikes that can be adjusted for weather conditions, and so much more. I love to remind people that it was a Dutchman who found a way to make chocolate so it was affordable to the masses. Probably one of the greatest scientific advancements in history IMHO. What’s stupid is Phelps not being allowed to give interviews to non-U.S. reporters.

    8. LilPuma on August 12th, 2008 11:39 am

      A couple hours ago I wrote:

      “I always feel a sense of American pride watching the Olympics, but at the same time, I love seeing those smaller countries, who seemingly don’t have a chance, come through with unexpected victories. Rare, but it happens.

      GO USA”

      …….and a few minutes ago some guy from Togo, wherever that is, won Gold in kayaking. Gotta love it.

    9. 11B40 on August 12th, 2008 11:44 am


      My favorite moment was when the TV interviewer asked one of the team members about his motivation for the race. He replied to the effect that Michael (Phelps) came by and said that the Frenchies were talking stuff.

      The Frenchies … priceless!

    10. LilPuma on August 12th, 2008 1:14 pm

      CORRECTION to my post #8. Togo won bronze, not gold:

      Bronze – Benjamin Boukpeti (Togo)

    11. Lucky 7: Michael Phelps Ties Mark Spitz’s Olympic Record of 7 Gold Medals in One Olympics | Scared Monkeys on August 16th, 2008 3:21 pm

      [...] if we got to do it again, I would win it.” Maybe these swimmers challenging Phelps should learn to keep their mouths shut as all they have done is further inspire Phelps to [...]

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