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Lochte suffers last-minute overturn in relay to drop gold for America

07-30-2012 05:59 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

LONDON, July 29 (Xinhua) -- American newly-crowned Olympic champion Ryan Lochte suffered a surprising last-minute overturn in a team relay on Sunday, gifting France the gold medal that the U.S. squad previously seemed already secured.

In the men's 4X100m freestyle relay which America has long dominated and holds the world record, French swimmer Yannick Agnel put on a devastating burst in the last 100m leg, dropping Lochte to give France the team gold.

In the breathtaking event on Sunday evening, Americans easily seized the lead by the time their first swimmer Nathan Adrian surfaced following his initial dive off the starting block. He had a half-body-length lead after the opening leg. 14-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps expanded the gap in the second leg and Culen Jones continued in the third.

The U.S. squad was half-second ahead of French before Ryan Lochte dived off. With an emphatic win in men's 400m freestyle in the previous day, Lochte was considered the best insurance in the last lap to seal the victory.

However, to everyone's surprise, Agnel gradually narrowed the gap and finally turned over Lochte in the last leg to give France an enticing gold in 3:09.93. The American team was left to settle for a silver in 3:10.38. The bronze medal went to Russia who clocked 3:11.41.

Agnel, who posted 46.74 seconds in his leg, had an one-second lead-off from Lochte.

The time of the U.S. team of 3:10.38 was over two seconds away from the world record they set at the Beijing Olympics in 3:08.24.

"The thing about the relay is that it's the whole race (so it can't be judged on individual laps) ," said Phelps, who lost to Lochte in the 400m freestyle a day before.

"At least I'm in a medal today," he added.

His teammate Jones said he gave his everything in the third leg.



Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: Xinhua

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