Monday, September 18|
Dutchman ties own world record
SYDNEY, Australia -- The Flying Dutchman stunned the Thorpedo -- and an entire nation.
With millions of swimming-crazed Aussies watching on television
and thousands cheering in person, Pieter van den Hoogenband upset
Ian Thorpe in the men's 200-meter freestyle, winning Olympic gold and tying his own world record in
Denied a third gold medal, Thorpe earned silver 24 hours after
Van den Hoogenband broke Thorpe's world record in the semifinals.
Thorpe finished in 1:45.83. Massimiliano Rosolino of Italy took
bronze in 1:46.65.
"We came to the lion's den and we did it," said Cees-Rijn van
den Hoogenband, Pieter's father. "Pieter is the sleeping kind and
all of a sudden he awakes."
Van den Hoogenband and Thorpe were even at the 150-meter mark
when cheers of "Thorpey, Thorpey" reverberated throughout the
Sydney International Aquatic Center.
The Dutchman began pulling away in the middle of the pool.
"In the last 25 meters, I was going full out," Van den
Hoogenband said. "Suddenly, I thought, `God, he's not going to
After the race, the fans cheered for Van den Hoogenband and then
got noticeably quiet. He covered his face with his hands before
climbing out of the pool and blowing kisses to the crowd.
Venue volunteers and workers had jammed every available nook to
catch a glimpse of the most highly anticipated individual showdown
so far at the Olympic pool.
"Beating Thorpe here is the maddest thing you can do," said
Jan Loordach, the Dutch team leader, "and he's not finished yet."
Van den Hoogenband erased Thorpe's world record with a 1:45.35
in Sunday's semifinals. Thorpe swam the next heat and missed taking
the record back by two one-hundreths of a second.
"The most amazing thing is to beat the overwhelming favorite,"
the Dutchman said. "I think I already gave him a psychological
The man nicknamed "Hoogie" just missed medals in the 100 and
200 freestyles when he finished fourth at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Van den Hoogenband established his reputation as a giant killer
last year by beating Olympic champion Alexander Popov of Russia in
the 50 and 100 freestyles at the European championships.
Van den Hoogenband gave a tiny nation best known for soccer and
speedskating its second gold medal and world record in swimming in
as many nights. On his way to the medals podium, he high-fived Inge
de Bruijn, who won the women's 100 butterfly Sunday.
Thorpe's time was nearly a half-second slower than his semifinal
effort. He ducked into Van den Hoogenband's lane to congratulate
"I gave it my all in the race," Thorpe said. "That was a
great race on behalf of Pieter. It's a real privilege to be able to
swim that race."
Perhaps the weight of a nation took its toll on the 17-year-old,
who earned gold in the 400 free and then returned to anchor the
Aussies to an emotional and narrow victory over the United States
in the 400 free relay Saturday.
"I would like to have gone a little bit faster, but you don't
always get it your own way," Thorpe said.
Diana Mocanu became the first Romanian swimmer to win a gold
medal, taking the 100 backstroke in an Olympic record 1:00.21.
Mocanu, who was third at 50 meters, won Romania's first swimming
medal since 1988. She broke the old mark of 1:00.68 set by
Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary at the 1992 Olympics.
Mai Nakamura earned silver in 1:00.55, giving Japan its first
backstroke medal since 1960. Nina Zhivanevskaya of Spain took
bronze in 1:00.89. B.J. Bedford of Etna, N.H., was sixth in 1:01.47
after being second at 50 meters.
|Pieter van den Hoogenband, below, denied Ian Thorpe a third gold medal in Sydney.|
Krayzelburg fulfills golden dream in 100 backstroke
Quann stands and delivers on golden promise
Malchow strong in 200 butterfly prelims