Phelps Quits The Pool : Fredericks: Up To Bolt’s Rivals To Perform : Team GB Lose Penalties : aforadio.com
Posted in Sports on 06. Aug, 2012
Phelps Quits The Pool With Unchallenged Record
The boy from Baltimore, who had set out to redefine the boundaries of his sport, had succeeded beyond anybody’s expectations with twice as many Olympic titles as any other athlete in the modern Games.
At the age of 27 he will move on, secure in the knowledge that he could not have done any more in the sport that became his life.
“I told myself that I never wanted to swim when I was 30,” he said. “I’ve been able to do everything I wanted, I’ve been able to achieve the goals I wanted to achieve and I’ve managed to do every single thing. It’s time for other things.”
Phelps, the most accomplished all-round male swimmer ever, set his sights high from the start.
“Nothing is impossible,” he wrote in his autobiography ‘No Limits’ published after his record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. When I’m focused, there is not one single thing, person, anything that can stand in the way of my doing something.”
The magnitude of his achievement as he quit the pool and entered the history books can be measured by the list of the other Olympic multiple medallists.
Phelps collected 22 medals after starting Olympic life as a 15-year-old at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
A distinguished quartet comprising track and field athletes Carl Lewis and Paavo Nurmi, gymnast Larisa Latynina and swimmer Mark Spitz won nine gold medals. Latynina, now 77, was in London to witness Phelps overtake her previous overall total of 18.
After his final race, Phelps accepted a silver trophy from world governing body FINA which described him as the greatest Olympian of all time. It is an accolade Phelps has never bestowed on himself and he was not about to start on Saturday.
“I have been able to become the best swimmer of all time,” he said. “I said (to coach Bob Bowman) we have been able to get here together and I thanked him.”
Phelps has trained under Bowman since he was 11 and there was plenty of emotion on both sides on Saturday.
“My first memory of him running around the pool when kids were playing dressed in his own tiny speedos, playing games in the pool,” Bowman said.
“Now he has a real perspective, back then the only perspective was performance. And it was really focusing on every detail we could.
“But he was only focused on that, he didn’t have an appreciation for the bigger picture.”
Phelps’ final Olympic campaign after he dropped the 200 freestyle from his Beijing programme and aimed for seven gold medals in London started badly last Saturday when he finished fourth in the 400 metres individual medley behind compatriot Ryan Lochte.
Lochte was immediately, and prematurely, hailed as the new face of American swimming but he began to fade while Phelps started to flourish.
Beaten to the touch in the 200 metres butterfly, his signature event, Phelps retained the 100 butterfly by sheer force of will after he was seventh at the turn.
A day earlier he had won the 200 individual medley title to become the first man to win three Olympic gold medals in a row.
“The first race (400 IM) took the pressure off,” Bowman said. “We said ‘we might as well enjoy it because it doesn’t look as if it’s going to go too well.
“We should have least have run while we are here. But I do think that allowed us to relax a little bit and he started to swim well in the relays and kind of picked it up again.”
Tributes have been pouring in all week from other members of the American swimming team, including one from 17-year-old Missy Franklin, another multi-eventer who will take over the torch from Phelps for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
“What he has done is incredible,” Franklin said. “And he’s kind of made people rethink the impossible – rethink what they can do and how they can push themselves.”
Asked to assess Phelps’ career, Bowman said: “It’s not only the number of medals, it’s the quality. Eighteen out of 22 gold medals? Two silver, two bronze? World records, you can look at all that.
“I just think the quality of it is so great, nobody can match that.”
The aftermath for Phelps will start with travelling, some publicity appearances and plenty of rest and relaxation.
Golf with his friend, U.S. Masters champion Bubba Watson is also on the agenda as Phelps confirmed during the week when he said he would not be rescinding his decision to retire.
“Bubba said I’m a good swimmer but still terrible at golf.
So maybe I’ll challenge him to swimming and we can go on a golf course after that, that will be (all) my competitive swimming after I’m done,” he said.
Fredericks: Up To Bolt’s Rivals To Perform
None of the medal hopes suffered any problems in progressing through Saturday morning’s heats, with American Ryan Bailey setting the fastest time of 9.88, followed by compatriot Justin Gatlin with 9.97.
Bolt was only equal ninth fastest with 10.09, while his main rival for gold Yohan Blake – a fellow Jamaican and training partner – ran 10 seconds dead.
However Bolt, who false-started in the 2011 World Championship final won by Blake, seemed to ease through the final 40 metres.
“Usain Bolt is the defending Olympic champion and it is up to the others to come and take it from him,” Fredericks told Eurosport.
“He will not let go of it without a fight.
“But I expect the others will come to the party – it is shaping up to be an incredible series of semi-finals.”
Another Jamaican hero, Asafa Powell, and American star Tyson Gay also won their heats comfortably, while Briton Dwain Chambers – who fought for the right to compete through the courts after a drugs ban earlier in his career – was another stand-out performer in the Olympic Stadium.
The semi-finals take place around eight o’clock in the evening before the final at around 10 p.m.
“They will look to send a message in the semis whereas in the heats they look to save energy and just get through,” continued Fredericks. “That is where you can win the final [in advance].
“In the semi-final you can’t play games: it is a real test of what you can do. You can’t afford to be negative at any point at the Olympics, but you know that in the semi-finals everyone is giving 100 per cent.
“[And] if you go through with a fast time, you get a better lane in the final.
“If you get a bad draw, you could have three or four medal contenders together, and you have to run a PB just to get to the final.
“Chambers can reach the final if he runs a PB.”
Fredericks refused to predict who will be standing on top of the podium following the blue riband event of the Games.
“I can’t call it after the heats, but the three Jamaicans and three Americans are the men to watch out for,” he said.
Team GB Go Out On Penalties To South Korea
Gold medal favourites Brazil twice came from behind to beat underdogs Honduras 3-2 to reach the semis.
Mexico will face Japan in the other semi-final after they beat Senegal 4-2 after extra time and Japan beat Egypt 3-0.
South Korea will play Brazil at Old Trafford on Tuesday while Japan will play Mexico at Wembley on the same night.
After one of the greatest days in their Olympic history with six gold medals, Britain’s football players were looking to make history of their own by reaching the Olympic semis for the first time since 1948.
The match against South Korea ended 1-1 after Aaron Ramsey scored one penalty after 36 minutes and had one saved three minutes later after Ji Dong-Won had put Korea ahead in the 29th minute. There were no further goals in normal or extra time so the game went to a shootout.
After both teams converted their first four penalties, Daniel Sturridge’s poor effort was saved by Korean keeper Lee Bum-Young and Ki Sung-Yeung converted to give his side a 5-4 shoot-out win.
Brazil, chasing their first ever Olympic football gold, fell behind to Honduras when Mario Martinez scored with a stunning volley after 11 minutes, but Honduras were reduced to 10 men when Wilmer Crisanto was sent off for two swift yellow cards in the first half.
Leandro Damiao equalised eight minutes before the break, but the underdogs unexpectedly went back in front after 48 minutes when Roger Espinoza found the net with a soft, low angled shot.
Neymar brought Brazil back into the game with a 50th minute penalty before Leandro Damiao made it 3-2 10 minutes later with a well placed shot.
Brazil coach Mano Menezes said: “The game was very difficult as I expected it to be. If we had scored one or two chances early in the game it might have been different, but the first Honduras goal unsettled the team.”
Mexico survived a fightback from Senegal in a thrilling match that delighted a crowd of almost 82,000 at Wembley who saw Senegal come from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 before two defensive errors allowed Mexico to win 4-2 in extra time.
Giovani Dos Santos and substitute Hector Herrera scored in extra time to put Mexico into the last four for the first time since they hosted the Olympics in 1968 and lost to Japan in the bronze medal match.
Senegal were never out of contention though and after plenty of chances of their own pulled one back when tournament top scorer Moussa Konate headed home after 69 minutes.
It was his and Senegal’s fifth goal of the tournament, but seven minutes later substitute Ibrahima Balde joined him on the scoresheet when he thundered in an unstoppable header to pull Senegal level.
Japan also made it through to the last four for the first time since 1968 after keeping a fourth consecutive clean sheet with a 3-0 win over Egypt.
The north African side were reduced to 10 men in the 41st minute at Old Trafford in Manchester, where 70,000 fans turned up for the often maligned men’s Olympic football tournament.
Japan won with goals from Kensuke Nagai after 14 minutes and late headers from Maya Yoshida and Yuki Otsu.