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Ron Judd's Olympics Insider

Ron Judd, an Olympics junkie and Seattle Times columnist who has covered Olympic sports since 1997, will use this space to serve up news and opinion on the Summer and Winter Games -- also inviting you to chime in on Planet Earth's biggest get-together.

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August 10, 2008 5:41 PM

Sunday night LIVE: Gold for U.S., Bremerton's Adrian

Posted by Ron Judd

In the big swim race of the night -- and perhaps one of the greatest ever in the Olympics -- the U.S. men's 400 freestyle relay team staged a stunning comeback, capped by a world-record anchor leg swum by Jason Lezak (46.06), to nip the French by .07 seconds.

The comeback, keeping alive Michael Phelps' historic quest for eight gold medals, erased a surprising early deficit after Phelps swam the first leg in 47.51.

Next up, Garrett Weber-Gale, who briefly regained the lead for the Americans by swimming 47.02. But the French charged back into the lead on leg three, swum by Cullen Jones at 47.65.

Into the water went Lezak, 32, facing off against French world-record holder Alain Bernard. He trailed Bernard most of the way, but skirted to the inside, near the French swimmer, and passed him in his last four strokes. Lezak's time, 46.05, obliterated the former fastest swim time for a relay start and sent the U.S. squad into pandemonium. Bernard swam his last leg in 46.73.

The finish time, 3:08.24, was almost 4 seconds below the 3:12.23 world record mark set by their prelims swim team, which included Bremerton's Nathan Adrian, who will take home a gold medal. The French finished in 3:08.32.

In the women's 400 free, America's Katie Hoff appeared to be have her first gold medal wrapped up, but was caught at the end and passed by Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain, who swam 4 03.22 to Hoff's 4:03.29. Joanne Jackson of Britain was third at 4:03.52.

In the men's 100 backstroke semis, Aaron Piersol swims 53.56, qualifying fifth.

In the women's 100 breaststroke semis, America's Rebecca Soni swims 1:070.7, winning the first heat and qualifying second overall. Second heat: Tacoma's Megan Jendrick swims 1:08:07, qualifying seventh for tomorrow's final. Qualifying first is Leisel Jones of Australia, who swam 1:05.80.

In the men's 100 breaststroke, Kozuki Kitajima of Japan defends his gold from Athens, swimming 58.91, a world record. Silver to Norway's Alexander Dale Oen, 59.20. Bronze to Hugues Duboscq of France, 59.37. Brendan Hansen is fourth at 59.57.

In the women's 100 fly, Australia's Libby Trickett takes gold, swimming 56.73. Silver to Christine Magnuson of the U.S. Bronze to Jessicah Schipper of Australia, 57.25.

Natalie Coughlin's world record in the 100 backstroke goes poof as Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe swims 58.77 in the semi-finals.

Michael Phelps advances in the semis of the 400 freestyle, swimming 1:46.28. Winning his heat was America's Peter Vanderkaay, swimming 1:45.76. Phelps goes into the final seeded fourth.

Equestrian Eventing

Duvall's Amy Tryon was dismounted, with both her and horse escaping injury. But she's disqualified from the competition, reports KING-5 TV's Allen Schauffler from Beijing.

Women's Synchro Diving

As expected, gorgeous to watch. Also as expected, China's Guo Jinging and Wu Minxia are nearly flawless in defending their 3-meter synchro title from Athens. Close call for American duo Kelci Bryant and Ariel Rittenhouse, who were tied for second after three dives (of five) when a mistake on the fourth dropped them to fourth in the competition. Silver to Russia, bronze to Germany.


President Bush stops off at the NBC anchor desk for five minutes with Bob Costas. Costas gets him to confirm he was, indeed, talking to Vladimir Putin about the conflict with Georgia during the opening ceremonies, telling him the violence was unacceptable. They also discuss banned-from-China athlete Joey Cheek. "Joey Cheek's got to know I took the Sudanese message (to Chinese leadership) for him," Bush says.

He adds that he doesn't need the Olympics as an excuse to press Chinese leaders on human-rights issues, something he says the U.S. government does all the time.

In general, he has high praise for the Chinese handling of the Games, and says he's been thrilled to spend so much time with American athletes.

"Our team's fired up," he says. "And so am I."

Women's (girl's?) team gymastics:

Pretty tough night for the U.S. squad.

Don't miss the performance of China's He Kexin on NBC's prime-time delay-othon tonight. Let's just say something uncharacteristic occurs on her otherwise mind-boggling uneven parallel bars routine.

By the way: If that girl is 16, I'm Bette Midler. Discuss amongst yourselves.



>(Top: He Kexin; photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Bottom: Bette Midler or Ron Judd/Seattle Times file.)

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Blogroll and links The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information. Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site. Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription). News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions. Beijing Organizing Committee Web site. Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site. London 2012 Summer Games site. Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site. Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
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Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.