Fu Yuanhui misses the gold by just one-hundredth of a second
BUDAPEST — Fu Yuanhui suffered a “heartbreaking” defeat to Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros in the women’s 50m backstroke at the World Aquatics Championships on Thursday as one hundredth of a second cost her gold.
Medeiros clocked 27.14sec, a new Americas record but 0.08sec shy of the world mark, while China’s Fu had to settle for silver at just 0.01 back.
Fu became a social-media sensation at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics after a video of her ecstatic, beaming reaction, having been told she had won bronze in the 100m backstroke, went viral as she struggled to control her emotions.
But her tears of joy in Rio were juxtaposed by her bitter disappointment in Budapest at missing out on a gold medal as she wept in the mixed zone.
“It is a heartbreaking result, I tried my best, I was swimming not just for myself but for my coach, my friends, my family,” said the 21-year-old.
“People know me for laughing, but if they see me crying they will be very sad, so this time I will go home before I cry.
“I prepared very hard, I thought I had prepared enough, but I don’t know why it didn’t work out as I had expected.”
Ironically, in the semifinals, Fu had also been just 0.01sec behind Medeiros, the fastest qualifier.
Having won silver over 50m at the Kazan world championships two years ago, the 26-year-old Medeiros went one better in Budapest having also come within 0.12 of the world record on Wednesday.
She said a gold medal at the short-course world championships in 2014 sparked some belief she could win over 50 meters.
“I’m so happy right now. Two years ago I was second, but now I am the champion, so this is so important in my life,” said the 26-year-old Medeiros.
“I won a gold medal in 2014 in Doha, it was a tremendous experience and I’m sure that it helped me to achieve the result that I achieved today
“To win a world gold medal in long-course championship swimming with very competitive and outstanding swimmers has a huge meaning.
“It is important for my country, my friends, my team and my colleagues in swimming. Brazilian swimming is becoming stronger.
“We got a silver in the men’s relay, a silver in the 50m fly and 50m breaststroke and now with my medal in 50m back as well.
“We have been progressing and developing since 2015, there is still more competition to be swum.
“I wasn’t confident of winning after last night’s semifinals and the Chinese were very strong today.
“I was a bit nervous, but I took time to relax and just be happy and it worked out.”
Ledecky’s lucky 13
Katie Ledecky claimed her 13th career world-championship gold on Thursday as the United States ruled the pool on Thursday with a hat-trick of victories.
Ledecky led the USA to the women’s 4x200m freestyle title with a powerful anchor leg to win her fourth gold medal in the Hungarian capital.
The 20-year-old from Washington, DC, sealed the win for the US quartet, alongside Leah Smith, Mallory Comerford and Melanie Margalis, as she held off China’s Li Bing jie, who took silver. Adriane Titmus earned bronze for Australia.
“It was a big victory for us,” said Ledecky.
It was the perfect response from Ledecky after she was beaten into joint second by Italy’s Federica Pellegrini in Wednesday’s 200m freestyle — the American’s first individual loss in 13 finals at world championships.
“I had no frustration about yesterday any more,” said Ledecky. “I had confidence in my other teammates, that we can do it together.”
Ledecky has now won five medals at these championships after gold in the 400m freestyle, 1500m freestyle, the 4x100m, plus that 200m freestyle silver.
Chase Kalisz of the US had earlier won the men’s 200m individual medley title.
He touched in 1min, 55.56sec, with Japan’s Kosuke Hagino taking silver at 0.45sec and China’s Wang Shun claiming bronze at 0.72.
It means Kalisz follows in the footsteps of compatriots Michael Phelps, who won the 200m IM gold at four Olympic Games from 2004 until 2016, and Ryan Lochte, who won four titles in the event from 2009 until 2015.
“Those two are the best in our sport, they will never be replaced and it means a lot to continue the IM tradition — they were my idols,” said the 23-year-old.
Caeleb Dressel and Nathan Adrian came first and second respectively in the men’s 100m freestyle final as the Americans dominated the podium.
“I’m fine with the silver. We’re stoked to see Team USA go one-two,” said the 28-yearold Adrian.
Meanwhile, Mireia Belmonte overcame a sore throat to win the women’s 200m butterfly title to add to her Olympic gold medal.
The Spaniard clocked 2min, 05.26sec, with Germany’s Franziska Hentke taking silver at 0.13 back and Hungary’s ‘Iron Lady’ Katinka Hosszu, who thrilled the home fans at Duna Arena on Monday by winning the 200m IM, earning bronze at 0.63.
Having won world silver at home in Barcelona four years ago, Belmonte has gone one better a year after being crowned Olympic champion in Rio.
China’s Fu Yuanhui (silver), Brazilian Etiene Medeiros (gold) and Aliaksandra Herasimenia of Belarus (bronze) show off their 50m backstroke medals at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Thursday.