Gaines: HE DID IT!
Hicks: A new world record!
Gaines: HE DID IT! HE DID IT!
[Michael] Phelps's hope's [are] alive! 46:06 split for Lezak! What a
clutch, fast swim when they needed it! Who's talkin' now? Stunned!
[as the camera cuts to a wide shot of the the French team's clearly
dazed facial expressions].
Gaines: I think
they need to use another word other than "smash."2
Wow. That might be the most
incredible relay split I've ever seen in my entire life. Not only
was that the fastest in history -- it
BLEW AWAY the fastest in history.
1 Five of the eight teams
-- the United States (3:08.24), France (3:08.32), Australia
(3:09.91), Italy (3:11.48), and Sweden (3:11.92) -- beat the
previous world record of 3:12.23, established in a preliminary heat
by the United States at these same Olympic games. The latter
achievement was remarkable in its own right, as a group of
relatively unheralded American swimmers -- Nathan Adrian, Cullen
Jones, Ben Wildman-Tobriner, and Matthew Grevers -- beat the
previous world record set in 2006 by the United States at the
Pan-Pacific Championships, a team which included Michael Phelps and
Jason Lezak. Of the members who competed in the 2008 Olympic
preliminary heat for the United States, Cullen Jones' swam the
fastest leg (47:61) and thereby earned a spot in the final heat.
2 In a press conference prior
to the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, France's Alain
Bernard stated: "The Americans? We're going to smash
them. That's what we came here for." [emphasis added]. In a bit of
karmic irony, American swimmer Gary Hall, Jr. had said much the same
thing -- "We'll smash them like guitars" -- regarding the Australian
men's relay team's chances at the same event during the 2000
Olympics in Sidney. That race, also among the most dramatic in
Olympic history, saw Aussie Ian Thorpe claw his way back to edge out
Hall in the final few meters of the race, giving the Australians
their first Gold Medal in this event (and the Americans' first
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