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 Olympics 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. ”