Where were you?
Where were you when Beamon jumped 8.90m? When Jonathan Edwards jumped 18.29m? When Bolt went 9.58 in Berlin, when Michael Johnson ran 43.18 for one lap of the track, or when Radcliffe never faded to 2:15.25 in 2003?
Where were you when Adam Peaty swam 57.13 for 100m Breaststroke?
Unfortunately, for the majority of the British public, they were in bed asleep. Those who weren’t were curled up on the sofa counting down the minutes of sleep they were losing before they had to be up for work. Some though were very fortunate to be in the 15,000 capacity crowd in the Rio De Janeiro Olympic pool. What they witnessed was simply stunning.
Adam Peaty has put himself alongside the very elite athletes in sport and what he achieved at 2.53am in the early hours of this morning will forever live in the memory of swimming and sports fans. That two lengths of breaststroking power stands next to the great individual performances in sporting history.
This is no exaggeration; it was that good.
It is a sporting moment which defies human performance. A display when everything aligns and an astonishing athlete shocks the world. When the eyes were on him he performed; and made the second fastest breaststroke swimmer of all time look pedestrian.
Composure. Delivery. The real deal.
If Team GB’s first Gold medal of the Games wasn’t enough to celebrate for the British fans, in the very next race Jazz Carlin won herself a brilliant Silver. The Bath based swimmer, coached by the fine Dave McNulty, lowered her lifetime best by a full two seconds (4.01.23) to win her podium place. A great story for a lady who missed out in London four years ago and struggled through the qualifying at the Olympic trials this year. However when it counted Carlin got it right. A taper perfectly timed. A matching Silver medal in the 800 metres must be the target now.
Beating Carlin to the Gold, and retaining her title, was the great Katie Ledecky. She did not dissatisfy, smashing the WR by two seconds to dominate the field from start to finish. Ledecky’s time of 3.56.46 is astonishing too and on another day would have been the stand out swim of the night. This is a performance and clocking that a very accomplished male swimmer would be pleased with. Ledecky has changed the discipline of distance freestyle swimming for ever.
If that wasn’t enough in one finals evening, Sarah Sjoestoem started the session off by swimming a lighting 55.48 in the 100 Butterfly to also lower her own World Record. A huge relief for the Swedish superstar who came 4th in London 2012.
The night of swimming drama didn’t finish there as the World got to see the G.O.A.T for the first time in the Rio waters. Michael Phelps helped his USA team to win the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle relay to finish off the night. Having not done the heats earlier in the day, and his first race of the meet, everyone was interested to see how the great man would perform. He did not disappoint. Going second he posted a scintillating 47.12 and really made the difference to the American team who were not favourites on paper to take victory. This was MP’s 19th Olympic Gold, but with that show of form, unlikely to be his last.
Other notable relay splits in the relay were Nathan Adrian who brought Team USA home in 46.97 and Australian Cameron McEvoy who came from behind to earn his team a Bronze in 47.00. Look out for these two in the 100m individual event later in the week.
In summary. There were four Golds up for grabs at the Day 2 finals session and the audience were treated to three World Records, two special swims that defy belief, and the G.O.A.T adding another Gold to his collection. This can’t happen every night can it…?
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