Swimming at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's 200 metre freestyle
The men's 200 metre freestyle event at the 2004 Summer Olympics was contested at the Olympic Aquatic Centre of the Athens Olympic Sports Complex in Athens, Greece. The event took place on 15 and 16 August.
|Men's 200 metre freestyle|
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
|Venue||Athens Olympic Aquatic Centre|
|Dates||August 15, 2004 (heats &|
August 16, 2004 (final)
|Competitors||59 from 55 nations|
|Winning time||1:44.71 OR|
In the lead-up to the final, the event was billed as The Race of the Century or the "greatest swimming race of all-time", due to its significance and high-class field. It featured four of the fastest swimmers in Olympic history: Ian Thorpe (Australia, world record holder in the event at the time), Pieter van den Hoogenband (Netherlands, defending Olympic champion), Grant Hackett (Australia, former world record holder in the event), and Michael Phelps (United States, later became the most decorated all-time Olympian, with a total of 28 medals).
Thorpe edged out Pieter van den Hoogenband in the final 50 metres to claim his second gold at the Games and fifth career medal, following his triumph in the 400 m freestyle two days earlier. With only 50 metres to go, he powered past his arch-rival to touch the wall first in an Olympic record of 1:44.71, matching the third fastest swim over the distance. Van den Hoogenband, who led the field through the first three laps under a world record pace, settled only for the silver in 1:45.23. Meanwhile, Phelps finished the race with a bronze in an American record of 1:45.32, ending his hopes of emulating Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven gold medals.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:
|World record||Ian Thorpe (AUS)||1:44.06||Fukuoka, Japan||25 July 2001|
|Olympic record||Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED)||1:45.35||Sydney, Australia||18 September 2000|
The following records were established during the competition:
|16 August||Final||Ian Thorpe||Australia||1:44.71||OR|
|1||4||Pieter van den Hoogenband||Netherlands||1:46.00||Q|
|2||5||Klete Keller||United States||1:47.28||Q|
|3||3||Simon Burnett||Great Britain||1:47.72||Q|
|4||6||Květoslav Svoboda||Czech Republic||1:49.27|
|2||3||Michael Phelps||United States||1:47.08||Q|
|6||7||George Bovell||Trinidad and Tobago||1:49.59|
|4||Pieter van den Hoogenband||Netherlands||1:45.23|
|3||Michael Phelps||United States||1:45.32||AM|
|4||6||Klete Keller||United States||1:46.13|
|7||7||Simon Burnett||Great Britain||1:48.02|
- "Australia hails Athens hero Thorpe". CNN. 17 August 2004. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Thomas, Stephen (16 August 2004). "The Thorpedo Triumphs over Hoogie in the "Race of the Century", Phelps Takes the Bronze". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Thorpe torpedoes his world rivals". CNN. 17 August 2004. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Gordos, Phil (17 August 2004). "Thorpe steals Phelps' thunder". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 May 2013.