S Y D N E Y, Australia, Sept. 18, 2000 -- Lenny Krayzelburg did the expected. Megan Quann did what she promised. Ian Thorpe did something different — he lost.
Krayzelburg, the heavy favorite, won the 100-meter backstroke in an Olympic record 53.72 seconds.
Quann, a 17-year-old, backed up her boast of knocking off defending champion Penny Heyns of South Africa in the 100 breaststroke. Quann won in 1:07.05, but she was well off her intended target — Heyns’ world record of 1:06.52.
Australian Leisel Jones won silver in 1:07.49. Heyns, who was first off the blocks and led until Quann passed her in the final 25 meters, took bronze in 1:07.55.
Their wins gave the United States its fourth and fifth golds after three days of the eight-day meet.
Thorpe Upset in 200m Freestyle
In the 200 freestyle, The Flying Dutchman stunned Thorpedo — and an entire nation.
With millions of swimming-crazed Aussies watching on television and thousands cheering in person, Pieter van den Hoogenband upset Thorpe, winning Olympic gold and tying his own world record in 1:45.35 seconds.
Denied a third gold medal, Thorpe earned silver 24 hours after Van den Hoogenband broke Thorpe’s world record in the semifinals. Thorpe finished in 1:45.83. Massimiliano Rosolino of Italy took bronze in 1:46.65.
“We came to the lion’s den and we did it,” said Cees-Rijn van den Hoogenband, Pieter’s father. “Pieter is the sleeping kind and all of a sudden he awakes.”
‘Better Than Anything’
Krayzelburg led all the way in bettering the old mark of 53.86 set by American Jeff Rouse at the 1992 Olympics. But he was .12 off his own world record set in the same pool last year.
“You’re measured in this sport by whether you win an Olympic gold medal. I’m glad I got one,” Krayzelburg said. “It’s better than anything I’ve ever done in my life.”
Matthew Welsh of Australia took silver in 54.07. Stev Theloke of Germany won bronze in 54.82.
American Neil Walker of Verona, Wis., was sixth in 55.14.
Krayzelburg, of Studio City, Calif., came to the United States in 1989 and became a U.S. citizen in 1995. He is the defending world champion in the 100 back and came to Sydney lacking only an Olympic gold medal.
“Oh my God, there’s so much relief, you can’t even imagine,” he said. “The last 24 hours have been pretty hard. I thought I would stay pretty relaxed, but that definitely didn’t happen.”
He has a chance at another gold in the 200 back beginning Wednesday, and also will swim on a relay.
American Josh Davis of San Antonio, Texas, was fourth in the 100 back with 1:46.73.
Highly Anticipated Showdown
Van den Hoogenband and Thorpe were even at the 150-meter mark when cheers of “Thorpey, Thorpey” reverberated throughout the Sydney International Aquatic Center.
The Dutchman began pulling away in the middle of the pool.
“In the last 25 meters, I was going full out,” Van den Hoogenband said. “Suddenly, I thought, ‘God, he’s not going to pass me.“‘
After the race, the fans cheered for Van den Hoogenband and then got noticeably quiet. He covered his face with his hands before climbing out of the pool and blowing kisses to the crowd.
Venue volunteers and workers had jammed every available nook to catch a glimpe of the most highly anticipated individual showdown so far at the Olympic pool.
“Beating Thorpe here is the maddest thing you can do,” said Jan Loordach, the Dutch team leader, “and he’s not finished yet.”
Van den Hoogenband erased Thorpe’s world record with a 1:45.35 in Sunday’s semifinals. Thorpe swam the next heat and missed taking the record back by two one-hundreths of a second.
“The most amazing thing is to beat the overwhelming favorite,” the Dutchman said. “I think I already gave him a psychological blow yesterday.”
The man nicknamed “Hoogie” just missed medals in the 100 and 200 freestyles when he finished fourth at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Van den Hoogenband established his reputation as a giant killer last year by beating Olympic champion Alexander Popov of Russia in the 50 and 100 freestyles at the European championships.
Van den Hoogenband gave a tiny nation best known for soccer and speedskating its second gold medal and world record in swimming in as many nights. On his way to the medals podium, he high-fived Inge de Bruijn, who won the women’s 100 butterfly Sunday.
Thorpe’s time was nearly a half-second slower than his semifinal effort. He ducked into Van den Hoogenband’s lane to congratulate his conquerer.
“I gave it my all in the race,” Thorpe said. “That was a great race on behalf of Pieter. It’s a real privilege to be able to swim that race.”
Perhaps the weight of a nation took its toll on the 17-year-old, who earned gold in the 400 free and then returned to anchor the Aussies to an emotional and narrow victory over the United States in the 400 free relay Saturday.
“I would like to have gone a little bit faster, but you don’t always get it your own way,” Thorpe said.
Romanian Wins Gold
Diana Mocanu became the first Romanian swimmer to win a gold medal, taking the 100 backstroke in an Olympic record 1:00.21. Mocanu, who was third at 50 meters, won Romania’s first swimming medal since 1988.
She broke the old mark of 1:00.68 set by Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary at the 1992 Olympics.
Mai Nakamura earned silver in 1:00.55, giving Japan its first backstroke medal since 1960. Nina Zhivanevskaya of Spain took bronze in 1:00.89. B.J. Bedford of Etna, N.H., was sixth in 1:01.47 after being second at 50 meters.
Malchow Sets Olympic Mark
American Tom Malchow of St. Paul, Minn., broke the Olympic record for the second time in the 200 butterfly semifinals. Malchow qualified first in 1:56.02, lowering the mark he set in the morning prelims.
Michael Phelps, a 15-year-old from Baltimore who is the youngest U.S. Olympic swimmer since 1932, was fourth-quickest in 1:57.00.
Russia’s Denis Pankratov, the defending Olympic champion, grabbed the eighth and last spot in 1:57.24.
Australia’s Susie O’Neill led all qualifiers for the 200 freestyle with a semifinal time of 1:59.37.
Franziska van Almsick of Germany, the world record holder, failed to advance to Tuesday’s final. She was 11th in 2:00.26.
Americans were shut out of a final for the first time in the meet when Lindsay Benko of Elkhart, Ind., and Rada Owen of Chesterfield, Va., weren’t among the top eight. Benko was 12th in 2:00.27, while Owen was last among 16 swimmers in 2:03.34.
Yana Klochkova of Ukraine, who won gold in the 400 individual medley Saturday, was the quickest qualifier for the 200 IM final in 2:13.08.
Cristina Teuscher of New Rochelle, N.Y., was third-fastest in 2:13.47, while Gabrielle Rose of Memphis, Tenn., was seventh in 2:14.40.