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OLYMPICS Phelps Watch: American history-maker on course for Games greightness

Bay of Plenty Times

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400M IND MEDLEY World record 4:03.84s

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4X100M FREE RELAY World record 3:08.24s

Michael Phelps swam into history yesterday as the athlete to win the most Olympic golds ever, tying up his 10th and 11th career golds — and five world records. A day after etching his name alongside Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

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200M FREESTYLE World record 1:42.96s

Paavo Nurmi and Larysa Latynina with gold No. 9, Phelps claimed the record to himself when he won the 200m butterfly — the race in which New Zealand’s Moss Burmester took him all the way before finishing fourth. An hour later Phelps returned to swim the lead-off of a runaway victory by the US 4x200m freestyle relay team,

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200M BUTTERFLY World record 1:52.03s

which shattered the old mark by more than 4s. ‘‘He is just another person— but maybe from a different planet,’’ said Alexander Sukhorukov, who swam the anchor leg for the secondplace Russians. Phelps claimed the 200m butterfly record in 1min 52.03s. He was even so blinded by leaky goggles he couldn’t

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4 X200M FREE RELAY World record 6:58.56s

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200M IND MEDLEY Final Tomorrow

see the wall when he touched home first. No such worries in the relay. Seemingly impervious to fatigue, the gangly star set a blistering pace of 1min 43.31s that helped the US become the first team ever to break the sevenminute barrier. Phelps is now all alone at the top of the career golds list — with three more

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100M BUTTERFLY Final Saturday

chances to stretch his lead before he leaves China. Phelps said: ‘‘I’ve got three races left, so there had better be something left in the tank.’’ He is just three wins away from beating Spitz’s record of seven golds in a single Games, while keeping pace with Spitz on world records. — NZPA

Drysdale: I thought it was all over

But then, on his blindside, came flying Greek Ioannis Christou. ‘‘Yeah. I could see him coming. The plan was to get out far enough so that when I did hit the wall nobody could catch me and I wouldn’t get into a sprint for the finish. But that didn’t happen. ‘‘It’s the Olympics — there’s nothing to lose for anyone. I knew he was there but, with seven strokes to go I didn’t know whether I was going to make it.’’ And then the wait. Drysdale thought he had it, but he was addled with exhaustion (he left the lake, went to recovery and vomited before meeting the press). ‘‘I had to look at the board. That was a pretty horrible few seconds. I had a feeling I’d got there. But it seemed to take an eternity for them to put the results out.’’ Synek was in, Campbell was in and (wait), Drysdale. Never has justice been displayed so vividly by Light-Emitting Diode before. ‘‘I got home — and that’s all that counts. I’m in the final and that’s where the medals are handed out.’’ Can you argue that he doesn’t deserve one?

Twigg didn’t want to talk about her race, where she was overrun in the final strokes by Polish youngster Julia Michalska. Only a disconsolate Carl Meyer fronted journalists, about 90 minutes after he, Eric Murray, James Dallinger and Hamish Bond were pipped by Great Britain, Australia and France in easily the fastest semi. He described the morgue-like atmosphere in their corner of the team boatshed, an utter contrast to the popping champagne corks that followed their world championships triumph in Munich a year ago.

Phelps’ Russian rival Alexander Sukhorukov

BASKETBALL: Players on Spain’s basketball team defended a photo in an advert showing them using their fingers to apparently make their eyes look more Chinese. The photo, which has been running in Spanish papers since Friday, shows all 15 players making the gesture on a court adorned with a Chinese dragon. The photo was part of a publicity campaign for team sponsor Seur and is being used only in Spain. ‘‘It was supposed to be funny or something — never offensive in any way,’’ said Spain centre Pau Gasol, who also plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. PICTURE / GETTY IMAGES

Heartbreak of Spanish inquisition The New Zealand men’s hockey team expertly masked their frustrations after their Olympic Games campaign was compromised by a Spanish winner with just two seconds remaining in a dramatic group match early this morning. New Zealand, the 12th and final qualifiers for Beijing, were within touching distance of sneaking a point off the world No 4-ranked nation, only for Santiago Freixa to evade an otherwise impregnable Paul Woolford to score the first legitimate goal of the match with the final shot at the Olympic Green Hockey Stadium. An off-balance Freixa’s reverse

stick shot from an acute angle gave the Spaniards a deserved 1-0 win, and ensured they are the only team with a perfect record in pool A after Belgium drew 1-1 with Germany earlier in the day. Another surprise outcome looked possible after New Zealand battled back from adversity only to be cruelly exposed on the break when a stalemate loomed. In contrast to the women’s team, whose coach Kevin Towns accused the match officials of bias after two late German goals overturned a 1-0 deficit on Tuesday night, men’s coach Shane McLeod was conciliatory — despite the Black Sticks having three goals disallowed. Only one goal was actually

debatable and McLeod was philosophical, citing New Zealand’s golden-goal defeat of Argentina in February to illustrate the sport’s fickle nature. ‘‘You’ve got to take the knocks with all the good things,’’ he McLeod. ‘‘We did a similar thing to Argentina to qualify, it’s all part of the game.’’ McLeod had no issue about Ryan Archibald’s 10th minute goal being disallowed but believed the officials should have awarded New Zealand another penalty corner instead of giving Spain possession. The real gripe, again treated diplomatically, was the ruling out of what the New Zealanders claim was a legal goal for Gareth Brooks.

In a dramatic 60-second interlude, Brooks believed he had fairly found the net but the whistle had already been blown — to award the penalty corner that Archibald ultimately ‘‘scored’’ from. While the officiating might have been questionable, Spain also experienced misfortune when two shots cannoned off a post on the rare occasion Woolford was beaten. The goalkeeper produced another strong defensive effort both from the Spanish set piece and open play. New Zealand next face the buoyant Belgians tomorrow, where the three points are now — NZPA essential.

Oly-Whites see red over card Elbow injury echoes for Patterson The Oly-Whites ended their Olympic Games soccer campaign in Shanghai as they began, with 10 men and bemoaning another harsh refereeing call. Coach Stu Jacobs’ team bowed out 0-1 to Belgium in their final group C match, leaving them with two losses and an unlucky day one draw with China. Zealous officiating again dominated the match, when Wellington

striker Daniel Ellensohn was red carded by Chilean referee Pablo Pozo for a clumsy challenge in the 46th minute. What appeared a marginal yellow card offence was given full importance by Pozo who marched Ellensohn, sending New Zealand’s victory hopes plummeting. Jacobs said: ‘‘Even some Fifa officials said it was a yellow card at best. Some of the reds have been mighty harsh — at least they’re consistent but it doesn’t make it easier to take.’’ — NZPA

Richard Patterson wasn’t put off by the graphic injury to an opponent yesterday. The Kiwi lifter did the same thing six years ago. Patterson was ninth of 14 lifters in 77kg Group B action. His best snatch of 130kg and leading clean and jerk effort of 170kg were both below personal best marks, for a disappointing total of 300kg. But the talking point was a sickening injury to Hungarian

Janos Baranyai when trying to hoist 148kg in the snatch. Baranyai lost control of the bar, contorting his elbow 90 degrees. He fell to the stage roaring in pain, to the horror of 1500 spectators. Officials raced on stage with a screen to protect his dignity — only for the big TV monitor to show four replays of the incident. Patterson did the same thing as a 19-year-old — and recovery took nine months. ‘‘He was looking good in the warm-up as well, poor — NZPA guy,’’ he said.

Champion four feel gutted after failing to reach final

From world champions to Olympic B finalists, the New Zealand men’s rowing four could barely come to terms with their 12-month descent here yesterday. The four and women’s single sculler Emma Twigg suffered the cruelest cut in the semifinals, squeezed into fourth place by minuscule margins to ensure New Zealand won’t field all eight of their crews in Saturday’s A finals. The two must race in meaningless B finals today, something that will seem like pulling teeth.

person— but maybe from a different planet’

Players in racism row

BIG REVERSE: Santiago Freixa flicks the ball past Black Sticks keeper Paul Woolford in the dying moments early today.

Mahe Drysdale

‘ He is just another

YACHTING: Tauranga’s Peter Burling and crewmate Carl Evans raced twice in the 470 class yesterday, only to be disqualified for crossing the line early in their first race. ‘‘We haven’t had a great day, but everyone is going to have their ups and downs in these conditions, even the good guys are having topsy turvey results,’’ Sailing manager Russell Green said. Evans and Burling overcame their disappointment in their second outing, with a solid 10th in the second race, working up from 25th at the first mark. After six races of the 10 scheduled they are 10th and poised to make the medal race, which carries double points.

beijing olympics

go, the Great Wall of China jumped out at me. I just ran out of gas and I could feel it happening.’

4X100M MEDLEY Final Sunday

Burling still in the hunt

F

‘ At about 400m to

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BEIJING BITES

Stomach bug lays low NZ’s golden hope but he scales new heights to reach final

OR seconds that weighed on him like an eternity, Mahe Drysdale stared at an electronic LED board that could tell him his Olympics were over. In those moments, his thoughts would have begun to crystallise. If they didn’t veer toward self-pity, then Mahe is not man but machine. He raced sick. You can’t put it any blunter than that. Since picking up a stomach bug on Sunday the 29-year-old has been losing his lunch ‘‘at both ends’’. Every time he’s gained strength, he’s then endured a relapse. On Monday, his quarterfinal finger-nail quarter-final victory knocked the wind out of his sails. On Tuesday night he started to feel OK, only to wake up the next morning feeling like death warmed up. His weight, normally about 104kg, dipped below 100. But yesterday he couldn’t lie in bed feeling sorry for himself. He had to race — and he had to race well enough to finish in the top three. At 1500m he was going stroke for stroke with Ondrej Synek, the man he had predicted pre-regatta would be his strongest challenger — before he fell ill and brought himself back to the field. ‘‘I was always a bit worried that I was going to hit the wall at some point,’’ Drysdale said. ‘‘At 1500m I thought ‘maybe I’m not’.’’ Drysdale was about as happy as a man could be that hasn’t been able to keep liquids down, let alone solids. ‘‘The illness was unfortunate but, to race like that, I was absolutely ecstatic. ‘‘I couldn’t believe it, I was out there challenging Ondrej Synek, who is one of the danger men and I led him for a lot of the race.’’ When all of a sudden... ‘‘At probably about 400m to go, suddenly the Great Wall of China jumped out at me. I just ran out of gas and I could feel it happening. ‘‘I tried to look after myself. I thought I had the place [3rd] sewn up and tried to conserve myself as much as I could because I knew if I completely lost it, it was going to be tough.’’ Problem being, he didn’t have third place all sewn up. Synek raced away, as you’d expect him to. Alan Campbell, who normally wouldn’t be able to live with a fit Drysdale, got half a length on him.

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‘‘We know we gave it our all, no one’s looking at each other. We left it out there, we just weren’t quick enough today,’’ Meyer said. ‘‘Our plan was to be looking back at everyone else in the first half of the race so we put all our effort into that but France went out, GB went out.’’ There was an extra dollop of pain for Meyer and Murray, who were in the crew that reached the final of the 2004 Athens Games, placing fifth. ‘‘I can honestly say I thought out there ‘what have I done with myself for the last four years?’.’’ he said.

Gold for Georgians JUDO: Judoka Irakli Tsirekidze won Georgia’s second Olympic gold medal yesterday after advancing through a semifinal against Russian Ivan Pershin against the backdrop of conflict between their two countries. He won the men’s 90-kg title bout against Algerian Amar Benikhlef, shortly after fellow Georgian Manuchar Kvirkelia won gold in the 74-kg greco-roman wrestling.

US star had broken ankle GYMNASTICS: Chellsie Memmel said after the US women won the silver team medal that she had competed with a broken bone in her right ankle. The 2005 world champion was injured in training on August 4, but competed on uneven bars.

Ferns never gave up BASKETBALL: New Zealand’s women lost 63-80 to China in group B last night, with Tall Ferns coach Mike McHugh saying the Kiwi players never stopped trying. McHugh said: ‘‘Once they got a roll going, we were battling away. We miss a shot, they get the rebound. You make a mistake against a team like China, at this level, and they hammer you.’’

Bloggers turn up heat Bloggers and others have taken Beijing to task for super-imposing fireworks over television images of the city at the opening ceremony and keeping a young singer out of sight while a more photogenic girl lip-synched for the cameras.

GOING HARD: New Zealand’s men’s coxless four (from left) Hamish Bond, Eric Murray, James Dallinger and Carl Meyer cross the finish line PICTURE / NZ HERALD in Beijing.

‘‘That probably sounds a bit dramatic but it feels like that when you’ve sacrificed so much for this. ‘‘Four years ago in Athens we were fifth and now we’re not even in the final so . . . ‘‘Some of us have been at it

more than others so maybe I’ve lost more. The other guys are maybe on the up.’’ Their struggles are not completely unexpected. Since Munich the fours failed to impress at World Cup meets and spent six weeks seeking solutions

at a training camp in Sydney. ‘‘We honestly believed we’d come on with some speed and were getting back to our times,’’ Meyer said. He didn’t want to contemplate his own future in rowing or of the crew, who have built a tight

relationship under coach Chris Nillson. The changing of the guard in the fours was a talking point at the Shunyi course, with all three medallists from Munich failing to advance. Meanwhile, double scullers Rob Waddell and Nathan Cohen were less than a second clear of fourthplaced Croatians Mario Vekic and Ante Kusurin, who only hours earlier were involved in a serious traffic accident near the Shunhi venue. Waddell admitted he and Cohen were below their best but was confident of a return to the form that saw them dominate their World Cup races this year once they resolve some boat and — NZPA chemistry chinks.

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OLYMPICS Phelps Watch: American history-maker on course for Games greightness tomach bug lays low NZ’s golden hope ut he scales new heights...

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