Emma Snowsill wins Olympic triathlon Emma Snowsill ended Australia’s Olympic triathlon drought when she claimed gold with a dominant win in the women’s race in Beijing today.

The pint-sized Snowsill, who missed the Australian team for 2004, burned off fierce rival Vanessa Fernandes of Portugal in the final section to close in 1 hour 58 minutes 27 seconds, a lead of 1:06. Australia’s Emma Moffatt took bronze in 1:59:55.84.

Snowsill, 27, had such a commanding lead that she took time to celebrate with fans down the final straight, beaming and waving the Australian flag as she crossed the line.

“I didn’t feel awesome,” she confided. “It was extremely hard, it was hot. I think it was a great course for a triathlon. It was a really tough course.

“I feel very proud and honoured to be an Australian with a gold medal around my neck at the Olympic Games.

“I believe we came so close in Sydney and Athens that this makes up for those very close defeats.

“I don’t feel any regret about not going to Athens, you move on and you deal with it. But to come from a nation that’s so strong in terms of triathlon, it’s a fantastic feeling to finally bring home a gold medal.”

The triple world champion had broken away from a 19-strong lead group at the start of the run leg and was never challenged on the way to the finish.

Australia’s Erin Densham was 22nd.

The victory is redemption for the 1.61m ‘Snowy’ who was overlooked for Athens 2004 but has since collected Commonwealth gold and her second and third world titles with nine World Cup series wins along the way.

And the win ended Australia’s run of heartbreak since triathlon became an Olympic event at the Sydney Games.

In 2000 Australia’s Michellie Jones was the world number one and favourite to win gold, but finished in second place behind Swiss triathlete Brigitte McMahon.

Four years later Australia’s Loretta Harrop was the favourite in Athens, but tired in the final stretch to lose the gold medal to Australian-born Austrian Kate Allen by seven seconds.

How it happened

Sarah Haskins hit the front early in the Ming Tomb Reservoir swim but the athletes were tightly bunched at the first change with American team-mate Laura Bennett narrowly landing first in 19:49.

Bennett maintained her lead through the transition onto the bikes with Japan’s Juri Ide and Snowsill in close contention along with Moffatt and Fernandes.

An eight-bike pile-up at the end of lap five dashed the hopes of Canada’s Laura Groves and Russian Irina Abysova as riders careered over the barrier and into each other at the hairpin stadium turn.

Moffatt led the standings after the bike race at 1:24:38.76 but Snowsill was off like a shot as she opened up a 15-second lead on Fernandes by the end of the first 2.5km lap and doubled her advantage by the halfway stage.

Snowsill took a wrong turn going into the stadium at the end of lap three but could afford to make mistakes with her lead already stretched to nearly a minute.

The gruelling ‘splash/mash/dash’ – 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run – was held at the scenic Ming Tomb Reservoir near Beijing in sunny conditions with temperatures at about 25 C (77 F).


Eric Draper.

American swimmer Michael Phelps, 23, has set a new record for the most gold medals won in one Olympic games by winning his eighth gold medal of the 2008 Olympic games, beating the previous world record of seven that was set by Mark Spitz in the 1972 Olympic Games, which took place in Munich, Germany.

Phelps’ eighth medal was won in the final of the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay. In addition to Phelps, Aaron Piersol, Brendan Hansen, and Jason Lezak were in the winning Olympic team, which had a time of 3:29.34, which was a new world record. In seven of his eight races, Phelps set or contributed to a new world record time. He set an Olympic record time in the remaining race.

“With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination,” said Phelps after realizing he had set the new medals record. “There are so many emotions going through my head and so much excitement. I kind of just want to see my mom.”

“Without the help of my team-mates this isn’t possible,” he continued. “I was able to be a part of three relays and we were able to put up a solid team effort and we came together as one unit. For the three Olympics I’ve been a part of, this is by far the closest men’s team that we’ve ever had. I didn’t know everybody coming into this Olympics, but I feel going out I know every single person very well. The team that we had is the difference.”

Grant Hackett, an Australian swimmer, praised Phelps for achieving his goal. “Michael Phelps – you can’t put it in words what he has done here, his level of achievement is phenomenal and I don’t think it will ever be seen again.”

Source : wikinews

US swimmer Michael Phelps claims his seventh gold medal Mark Spitz has no qualms about handing over his 36-year title of king of the Olympic pool to Michael Phelps, calling him the best ever.

Phelps, 23, on Saturday matched Spitz’s record of winning seven gold medals at one Olympics with a fingertip victory in the men’s 100 metre butterfly final.

This not only puts him on a par with Spitz’s record but also gives him a shot at topping that by bagging an eighth gold when he competes in his final event on Sunday, the 4×100 medley relay.

“I think that he can be called, Michael, the best Olympian of all time, more so not because he has more gold medals than anybody but in the way he’s handled himself and in the way he’s actually won under a tremendous amount of pressure,” Spitz told United States television network NBC.

Spitz, 58, said he always knew someone would eventually match the benchmark he set at 1972 Munich Games.

He called Phelps’s performance “epic” and said the Baltimore native represents “an inspiration to youngsters around the world”.

As Phelps has bagged gold after gold at Beijing, the world’s media had been hunting for Spitz to get his reaction to the swimmer attacking his record after 36 years.

There were rumours that he was in Beijing, then that he was in Hong Kong, and then that he was at home in California.

However it turned out he was in Detroit, watching one of his two sons play in a basketball tournament.

After Saturday’s race Phelps told NBC that he thought he had lost the race that earned him a extra $US1 million from sponsor Speedo, which promised him a bonus if he matched Spitz’s record.

“As soon as I took the last half stroke, to be honest, I thought I had lost the race,” he told the US network that bought exclusive broadcasting rights to the August 8-24 Games.

“And that was the difference, ’cause if I would have glided then I would have come up short. I’ve been lucky enough over the last four years to have two pretty good finishes in Olympic finals. I guess I’m blessed.”

Whether he wins an eighth gold medal or not, Phelps will leave Beijing as the most successful Olympian of all time.

By Saturday he had lifted his gold medal tally to 13, which tops the previous record of nine held jointly by Spitz, U.S. sprinter Carl Lewis, Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larysa Latynina.

Source : abc.net.au /Reuters


Men’s 200-meter individual medley

Michael Phelps won his sixth gold medal of the Beijing Olympics with a world-record time of 1:54.23 in the final of the men’s 200m individual medley. The gold puts him one gold medal away from Mark Spitz‘s individual record of seven gold medals at a single Olympiad, set at the Munich Olympics in 1972. It was also his sixth world record, also one short of a single-Olympiad record set by Spitz as well.

Hungarian László Cseh won the silver medal with a time of 1:56.52, an European record. Cseh out-touched American Ryan Lochte, the bronze medal winner, by 0.01 seconds (1:56.53).

The previous world record time was 1:54.80, set by Phelps at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebrasha.

Men’s 50m freestyle

In the first semifinal of the men’s 50m freestyle, Cesar Cielo Filho set a new Olympic record with a time of 21.34 seconds, 0.12 seconds ahead of the previous Olympic record and 0.06 seconds behind the current world record.

“It was a great race. The 50m is so fast and it was my best-ever race,” said Filho after the race. ‘I’m in lane four [in the final]. I’ll just do my best and focus on my own race and will touch the wall with my best performance.”

Women’s 200m breaststroke

American Rebecca Soni net a new world record and won the gold medal in the final of the women’s 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:20.22.

Leisel Jones, who was representing Australia, took the silver medal, while Sara Nordenstam finished in third place with a time of 2:23.02, less than one second behind Jones’ time of 2:22.05.

Women’s 75kg weightlifting

The Chinese Cao Lei set a new world record and won the gold medal women’s 75kg weightlifting. Her score of 282 beat the competitor who took the silver medal by sixteen points.

“I was excited and overjoyed because I won the seventh gold medal for Chinese weightlifting,” she said, after the event.

Men’s individual pursuit

British Bradley Wiggins set a new Olympic record in qualifying round of the men’s individual pursuit with a time of 4:15.031 and an average speed of 56.463 km/h.

Hayden Roulston, who was representing New Zealand, finished in second place, while Alexei Markov finished in third place with a time of 4:21.498.

Women’s artistic gymnastics individual all-around

American Nastia Liukin won the gold medal in the women’s individual all-around in artistic gymnastics. She is the daughter of former Soviet Union gymnast Valeri Liukin, who won a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Her total score was 63.325: 15.025 in vault, 16.650 in uneven bars, 16.125 in balance beam and 15.525 in floor exercise. Her scores at balance beam and floor exercise were the top scores for the individual all-around competition.

Her American teammate, Shawn Johnson, won the silver medal with a total score of 62.725. Johnson had the top score in the vault, with a score of 15.875. Chinese gymnast Yang Yilin won the bronze medal with a total score of 61.925. Yang had the top score in the uneven bars, with a score of 16.725.

Medal Table

Michael Phelps wins the men's 200m butterfly gold medal American wunderkind Michael Phelps became the most successful Olympian in history with 11 gold medals after victory in the 200 metres butterfly and 4x200m relay finals at the Water Cube.

The 23-year old won his fourth gold medal of the Beijing Games in another world record performance of 1:52.03, improving on his time of 1:52.09 set at last year’s world championships in Melbourne.

Phelps then backed up an hour later to lead off the American relay team which smashed its own world record to win the 4x200m final.

The superfish has added to the six gold medals he won in Athens and overtakes the legendary group of Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, Paavo Nurmi and Larysa Latynina, who each won nine Olympic golds.

The wins also keep alive Phelps’s bid to surpass Spitz’s seven gold medals at a single Games set at Munich in 1972.

Phelps finished more than half-a-second ahead of Hungarian Laszlo Cseh in the 200m fly, who touched in 1:52.70.

Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda took bronze in a time of 1:52.97.

Phelps says the enormity of his achievements is beginning to sink in.

“When I was on the award ceremony for the 200 fly, I started thinking about it.

“That’s when I started tearing up.

“To be at the top with so many great athletes who’ve walked in these Olympic games, it’s a pretty amazing feeling.”

Phelps’s triumph in the event in which he has owned the world record since 2001 was not the same kind of dominant display as his victory in the 200m freestyle on Tuesday, but he said there was a reason for that.

“My goggles were filling up with water during the race, and I had trouble seeing the wall,” he said.

“I wanted the world record. I wanted a 1:51 or better, but given the circumstances it’s not too bad, I guess.”

With the relay final scheduled later in the session, Phelps had no time to contemplate his place in history.

“He won’t appreciate the history of what is happening here until later, maybe years later,” Phelps’s coach Bob Bowman said.

Prior to Wednesday’s finals, Phelps had won the 400m individual medley, 200m freestyle and was a member of the United States 4x100m relay team that took gold ahead of France in a stunning final.

He still has the 4x100m medley relay, 200m individual medley and 100m butterfly on his program, but has said with the gruelling 400m IM and relay wins, the hardest part of his eight-gold quest is behind him.

Latynina and fellow Soviet gymnast Nikolai Andrianov hold the record for the most medals in all, with 18 for women and 15 for men respectively, but with at least one more Games left in him Phelps could break all records.

Source –ABC

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