Ervin breaks age barrier as US add to gold medal haul

File Photo: Anthony Ervin
IANS|13-Aug-2016 15:07

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 13 : Anthony Ervin became the oldest swimmer to claim an Olympic gold medal as the US won another three finals in the swimming events at the ongoing Rio Olympics. The 35-year-old clinched the 50m freestyle gold to break the record set by Dara Torres, who was 33 when she took part in the USA's victorious 4x100m relay team at the Sydney 2000 Games, reports Xinhua.

He also broke the record held by US teammate Michael Phelps as the oldest swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold medal on Friday. Ervin touched the wall in 21.40 seconds at Rio's Olympic Aquatics Stadium, just one hundredth of a second ahead of defending champion Florent Manaudou of France.

The US's Nathan Adrian took bronze in 21.49 seconds. It completed a remarkable comeback from Ervin, who won his first Olympic gold medal in 2000 -- also in the 50m freestyle -- before quitting the sport. He returned for the 2012 Olympics, finishing fifth in the 50m freestyle final. Friday night also saw victories for the USA by Katie Ledecky in the 800m freestyle and Maya Dirado in the 200m backstroke. But there was also disappointment for the North American nation, with Phelps failing in his bid to win four consecutive gold medals in the 100m butterfly.

Ledecky won her fourth gold medal here by storming to victory in 8 minutes 4.79 seconds, smashing the world record she set in January by 1.89 seconds. Britain's Jazz Carlin took silver in 8:16.17 with Hungary's Boglarka Kapas claiming bronze in 8:16.37. Ledecky's other gold medals at these Games came in the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle. She was also part of the USA team that won the silver medal in the 4x100m freestyle relay. Dirado pocketed her second gold medal of the Rio Games by winning a thrilling 200m backstroke final.

The 23-year-old touched the wall in 2:05.99 to beat Katinka Hosszu by six hundredths of a second at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. Canada's Hilary Caldwell took bronze in 2:07.54. Aiming for her fourth gold medal of these Games, Hosszu led by half a body length at the midway point.

But Dirado powered home to overtake her rival in the last five meters. Dirado was also part of the US team that won the 4x200m relay final on Wednesday. Joseph Schooling won Singapore's first ever Olympic gold medal by ending Phelps' hegemony in the 100m butterfly. Schooling, 21, clocked 50.39 seconds, 0.75sec ahead of Phelps, South Africa's Chad le Clos and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh, who all tied for silver.

Phelps had won the gold medal in the event at the last three Olympic Games. He was aiming for his second so-called four-peat in Rio after securing his fourth consecutive Olympic 100m individual medley gold medal on Thursday. It was just the third Olympic silver medal of Phelps' career. He has won a record 22 gold medals and two bronze medals. The US have so far won 14 swimming gold medals at these Games out of a possible 28.

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