Have you ever seen a movie and thought, “there’s no way this happens in real life.”
Well that’s what the Men’s 4×100 relay felt like it was just so unreal. If this was a movie you would call it Hollywood cheese.
It had the perfect setup, you had the good guys, (the Americans) with crowd favorite Michael Phelps, going for 8 gold medals. Two rookie swimmers, Jones and Garrett, and 3x Olympic veteran Jason Lezac seeking redemption from have lost the relay in the previous 2 Olympics.
Then you had the villains (The French). Why are they the villains? They’re French is another reason needed? This time there is, the French bring it onto themselves they proudly proclaim that they will “smash” the Americans. The thing is the way they have been swimming this year they just might be able to back up that boast. They are led by Alain Bernard the World Record holder. They are by all accounts the favorites to win this race.
As the race is about to begin the announcers tell us that the Americans will each have to swim the lap of their lives in order to beat the heavy favorites the French. Phelps just swam a qualifier a little over an hour ago, the announcers wonder if he will be rested enough, as if the Americans needed any more handicaps…. If you were a gambling man, there’s no way you pick the Americans to win. As a Famous Vulcan would say, “its just not logical”…
Then the race finally starts Phelps dives in first for the Americans swims a good lap, the Americans have an early lead. But nobody expects this to last and it doesn’t soon the Australians grab the lead and then the French do. These 3 teams are pretty close, so far it’s a pretty tight race. Then comes the last lap. The French pull out to a commanding lead and their swimmer is Bernard the World Record holder, the fastest swimmer in the world. Everybody knows it’s all but over the French are going to win this thing. As the swimmers touch the wall and start heading back on their final 50 ft, even the announcers proclaim that the French are going to win. But then something funny happens. With about 30 ft to go Lezac, the final American swimmer starts catching up, little by little you see the impossible unfolding before you very eyes, you can’t even believe it, the announcers don’t even believe it the Americans are gaining but it’s too late isn’t?
They can’t catch the French now there’s not enough time left…or is there? As the crowd gets louder the impossible become possible inch by inch Lezac get closer and closer, his teammates cheering wildly, almost there, one final push, one final stroke, one final stretch Lezac reaches for the wall, the next second it feels like time stops everybody waiting to see who touched the wall first.. and then an explosion…The Americans won! They set a new record and just barely beat the French.. but just barely is all it takes..The Americans are back on top. When Lezac is asked how he was able to do the impossible, how was he able to catch the WR holder,
He responds simply ” I was tired of losing”…
Talk about your Hollywood endings!