Florent's First For Manaudou Siblings
Aug 3, 2012
Olympic Games, London 2012, Day 7 Finals
Men's 50 Freestyle Final
Laure's little brother Florent Manaudou rocketed to Olympic champion status alongside her in 21.34sec, the first champion siblings in the Olympic pool ever. France will not sleep tonight after Manaudou delivered its fourth title of the London Games in 2012, the year in which Paris might have hosted had Britain not won the bid.
Laure Manaudou, the first Frenchwoman to win Olympic swimming gold when she took the 400m freestyle crown in 2004, rushed out on to the deck to hug her brother, the siblings shedding tears of joy, mum and dad up in the stands.
The silver went to Cullen Jones (USA) in 21.54, the bronze to defending champion Cesar Cielo (BRA) in 21.59, his teammate Bruno Fratus locked out by 0.02sec, the 2000 joint champion Anthony Ervin (USA) fifth 12 years on in 21.78.
"If I had not believed, I would not have finished first today," said Manaudou, at 21 the youngest swimmer in the final. "I thought that I had to be more relaxed in the final. I knew that was the key to a 50m, I have always said that I could do it in an Olympic final."
If Ledecky's leap at 15 over 800m raised eyebrows, Manaudou's progress did too. He arrived at the Games with a best of 21.86, moved that on a touch to 21.80 in semis - and then dropped a bomb.
His top 8 all-time:
So, coming into this year, his best was 22.30 - 0.96sec better on a 50m dash. Impressive stuff.
Jones, 28 and from Charlotte in North Carolina, said the silver medal would keep motivate him to keep on to the 2016 Rio Olympics. "The time wasn't too bad, I am thankful I got second. I was dreaming of gold and I really wanted first, but I'll have to live with silver and that is enough motivation for another four years," Jones said.
Cielo hangs on to his shiny suit world record of 20.91 and was relieved to have come away from the Olympics with a medal. "I wasn't too disappointed, because at least I got a medal, but I wasn't feeling well," Cielo said, adding that he'd make a few changes in his training for Rio. "It was my fourth day of competition and I was tired. I wasn't as good as I was yesterday."
Manaudou scorched a field of folk he'd never beaten before. "Perhaps that was a strength for me," he said. "I didn't know many of the competitors. But of course Fred did brief me on everyone."
Fred Bousquet, bro-in-relationship who didn't make the cut at French trials and was watching while on holidays in Spain with his and Laure's two-year-old daughter Manon.
"I think he watched the race. It must have been somewhat difficult for him," said Florent Manaudou. "He knows he could have made it to the final. He has taught me a great deal about the 50 meters. I learned a lot from his stroke technique."
Manaudou makes history as the first to take Olympic gold in the pool to match a sibling's gold. In the 1970s, Shirley Babashoff, among the most damaged of women in the GDR doping days with six silvers taken in OLympic eaters behind the state-doped medals factory, claimed two Olympic golds, her brother Jack Babashoff a silver. He also raced in the heats of the 4x100m medley in 1976 but in those days there were no medals for reserves. There was no 4x100m freestyle in 1976, the event withdrawn from the programme for one Games, otherwise Babashoff would surely have been in the mix for a gold there.
The first golden siblings have been there for each other, said Florent. "My sister has given me her full support in my Olympic dream and in this final," he said. "She said that whenever I needed her she would be there for me."
France is having a stellar week: Jean Boiteux (400m free, 1952), Laure Manaudou (400m free, 2004), Alain Bernard (100m free, 2008) - that was it until this year, the all-time list of champions from Gaul set at three. In 2012: four golds so far, Camille Muffat (400m free), Yannick Agnel (200m free), the men's 4x100m free and now Manaudou (50m free).
"It all began with my sister in 2004 when she won the 400 free, and then there was Alain Bernard and others in the 50 free and the relay," Florent Manaudou said. "Now we're a great swimming nation and I hope it will continue."
Fastest final: Beijing - 21.30 - 21.72