Work in Sports
U.S. men, women shatter medley relay recordsLatest: Wednesday October 11, 2000 02:02 PM
SYDNEY, Australia (CNNSI.com) -- The United States capped off a 33 medal haul Saturday by setting world records in two relays on the final day of Olympic swimming.
Jenny Thompson won her eighth career relay gold -- her 10th medal overall -- and Gary Hall Jr. overpowered Aussie Michael Klim on the anchor leg as the Americans won the women's and men's 400-meter medley relays.
Grant Hackett and Kieren Perkins went 1-2 in the grueling 1,500 freestyle, continuing their country's dominance in the mile.
In the men's 400 medley relay, the team of Lenny Krayzelburg, Ed Moses, Ian Crocker and Hall won in 3 minutes, 33.73 seconds, lowering the mark of 3:34.84 set by Americans at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
"With those guys, it's so inspiring," said Crocker, a 18-year-old from Portland, Maine. "I always get nervous before I swim. They calmed me down and told me to have fun."
It was Krayzelburg's third gold after victories in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Hall picked up his second gold after tying teammate Anthony Ervin in the 50 freestyle Friday. Moses had won silver in the 100 breaststroke. p> In all the U.S. won 33 medals, including 14 golds, during the meet in which 15 world records were set or tied at the Sydney International Aquatic Center. The host Australians claimed 18 medals and five golds.
After accepting their golds, the U.S. men unfurled a banner reading: "Sydney 2000. In our hearts forever. Thanks Australia."
In the women's relay, B.J. Bedford, Megan Quann, Thompson and Dara Torres won in 3:58.30, erasing the mark of 4:01.67 set by China at the 1994 world championships.
"By the time Jenny got in the pool, I knew we had the world record. I knew," said Quann, who won gold in the 100 breaststroke.
Australia's men and women settled for silver in both medley relays. The American women went 3-0 against their Aussie counterparts in the overall relays, while the U.S. men were 1-2.
The Aussie team of Matthew Welsh, Regan Harrison, Geoff Huegill and Klim took silver in 3:35.27.
Ian Thorpe, the 17-year-old Aussie sensation, wound up with three golds and a silver in his first Olympics. He set world records in the 400 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay, swimming the anchor leg, and finished second in the 200 freestyle. Thorpe's third gold was for swimming the 400 medley relay preliminaries.
With eight gold medals -- all in relays -- Thompson ended her swimming career one short of gymnast Larissa Lathynina of the former Soviet Union for most golds by a woman. She tied Torres for bronze in the 100 freestyle in Sydney, and won silver in the 100 freestyle at the 1992 Olympics.
After finishing third in the 50 freestyle, Torres hurried with her medal across the deck to prepare for the relay, which she anchored. Thompson, a 27-year-old from Dover, N.H., swam the butterfly portion.
"I'm really sad it's over," said Torres, in her fourth and final Olympics at 33. "It's been an unbelievable experience, a dream come true."
Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands, already the world's fastest woman sprinter, won the 50 freestyle for her third individual Olympic gold.
De Bruijn swam 24.32 seconds -- .19 seconds over the world record she set in Friday's semifinals.
"I'm floating on a big cloud," De Bruijn said. "I hope I don't land for a long time."
Hackett continued the Australian distance swimming legacy established by Perkins, winning the grueling mile in 14:48.33.
Perkins, trying to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual Olympic event three times, took silver. The Aussies went 1-2 in the event for an unprecedented third straight Olympics.
Chris Thompson of Roseburg, Ore., finished third, earning the first medal in the event since the United States went 1-2 in 1984.
All three medalists went under 15 minutes for the first time in Olympic history.
In the women's 50 freestyle, Therese Alshammar of Sweden took silver in 24.51 seconds, finishing behind De Bruijn for the second time in two days. The Swede was runner-up in the 100 freestyle.
Torres won bronze in 24.63. American Amy Van Dyken, the defending Olympic champion, was fourth in 25.04. Later, Van Dyken and Ashley Tappin earned gold medals for swimming in preliminaries of the 400 medley relay.
De Bruijn set world records in winning the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly at these games. She also anchored the Dutch 400 freestyle relay team to silver.
"I knew I could do great, but I didn't know if I would do three gold medals," she said. "It's easy for the outsiders to predict three gold medals, but you still have to do it. You're all alone up there. You've got to do it yourself."
Torres, who made a comeback after taking a seven-year break from the pool, earned her third individual bronze. She was third in the 100 butterfly and tied Thompson in the 100 freestyle. She also was part of the world record-setting 400 freestyle relay.
Van Dyken, who won her sixth career gold for swimming preliminaries of the 400 medley relay, was coming off two shoulder surgeries since her upset of China's Jingyi Li four years ago.
The race was the last of Van Dyken's career.
"A couple of months ago, I didn't know if I'd be able to swim and I got fourth. That's pretty good," she said.
Van Dyken, a 27-year-old from Englewood, Colo., lingered in the water, taking in the sellout crowd of 17,500 and the Olympic rings.
"It's the last time I'll see the pool as a competitor. It's hard, you know," she said. "I was a lot more emotional than I thought I would be."
Hackett and Perkins were spurred by chants of "Aussie! Aussie!" during the mile. Perkins never got in front of Hackett, finishing in 14:53.59. He surrendered the title he won in 1992 and again in '96, when he was the underdog who qualified slowest in Lane 8.
American Erik Vendt of North Easton, Mass., who became the first American to break 15 minutes at the U.S. trials in August, faded to sixth in 15:08.61.
Thompson won the bronze by seven hundreths of a second over Russian Alexei Filipets, who also went under 15 minutes. Thompson's time of 14:56.81 snapped Vendt's American record.
"Wow, that's so close," Thompson said. "I'm totally thrilled. I was really nervous before the race and I didn't even feel that great in warmups. I didn't think it would be a good one for me."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.