Phelps wins 19th Olympic gold

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

MICHAEL Phelps capped an ex­plo­sive evening of record-break­ing and barely con­cealed nee­dle Sun­day by bag­ging an as­ton­ish­ing 19th Olympic gold medal in the men’s 4x100 me­tres freestyle re­lay.

Ear­lier, Adam Peaty ended 28 years of Olympic hurt for Bri­tain’s male swim­mers as he romped to gold in the 100 me­tres breast­stroke fi­nal in Rio, smash­ing the world record for the sec­ond time in two days.

Cheered on by fi­ancee Ni­cole and tod­dler Boomer in the stands, the peer­less Phelps again pro­vided the spark, pro­duc­ing a blis­ter­ing 47.12-sec­ond leg to over­take France’s Fa­bien Gilot and set up vic­tory in the 4x100m free.

Nathan Adrian an­chored the Amer­i­cans to a time of 3:09.92 to end French dom­i­nance of the event stretch­ing over the past two world cham­pi­onships and the London Olympics four years ago.

“It was crazy,” said Phelps, com­pet­ing in his fifth and fi­nal Games. “I was stand­ing on the block while Caeleb (Dres­sel) was coming in and I hon­estly thought my heart was go­ing to ex­plode out of my chest.

“We wanted that race back so badly,” added Phelps, who hugged team mate Ryan Held on the podium as he sobbed tears of joy.

“They were mak­ing us cry. The younger guys started cry­ing, I started cry­ing. My last 400 free re­lay ever, it feels damn good to get a win.”

In con­trast to the Brazil­ian crowd’s love-in with a fist-pump­ing Phelps, how­ever, there was gen­uine an­i­mos­ity when Rus­sian Yu­lia Efi­mova, who es­caped a drugs ban to com­pete in Rio, was in­tro­duced be­fore the 100m breast­stroke semi-finals.

That paled com­pared to the boos that greeted the Rus­sian men’s 4x100m freestyle re­lay team, how­ever, as fans and ath­letes sup­port­ing team mates vented their ir­ri­ta­tion after months of dop­ing scan­dals.

Peaty’s fire­works were sand­wiched be­tween two more world records – by Swe­den’s Sarah Sjostrom in the women’s 100m but­ter­fly and pro­lific Amer­i­can Katie Ledecky, who oblit­er­ated her own 400m freestyle mark by al­most two sec­onds. — Su­perS­port

Paul Pogba (left) is driven into Manch­ester United Car­ring­ton Train­ing base

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