Monday, January 22, 2018
Sports

History for Phelps (and friends)

LONDON — Michael Phelps lingered on the blocks, not wanting to make another shocking blunder. The 19th medal was his. All he had to do was avoid a DQ, then set off on what amounted to four victory laps.

When Phelps touched the wall, he finally had gold at his final Olympics. And a record for the ages.

Phelps swam into history with a lot of help from his friends, taking down the last major record that wasn't his alone. He took the anchor leg for the United States in a gold medal-winning performance of the 800-meter freestyle relay team Tuesday, earning the 19th Olympic medal of his brilliant career, and the 15th gold.

"I've put my mind to doing something that nobody had ever done before," Phelps said. "This has been an amazing ride."

About an hour earlier, Phelps had taken one of his most frustrating defeats, blowing it at the finish and settling for silver in his signature event, the 200 butterfly. That had tied the record for career medals held by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, but it was hardly a triumphant moment. Phelps slung away his cap in disgust and struggled to force a smile at the medal ceremony.

But any disappointment was gone by the time he dived in the water on the relay, having been staked to a huge lead by teammates Ryan Lochte, Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens.

Before the race, they had huddled together, aware of their role in history. "I thanked those guys for helping me get to this moment," Phelps said. "I told those guys I wanted a big lead. I was like, 'You better give me a big lead going into the last lap,' and they gave it to me. I just wanted to hold on. I thanked them for being able to allow me to have this moment."

Lochte, a former Gator, handed off a comfortable lead to former Gator Dwyer, who gave a bigger lead to Berens, who handed off a lead of nearly 4 seconds to Phelps, who was extra cautious with the exchange, knowing the only way he could ruin this one was to get disqualified.

He touched in 6 minutes, 59.70 seconds. France was second in 7:02.77.

Phelps had not lost a 200 fly race at either the Olympics or world championships since the 2000 Olympics. After leading the entire race, he tried to glide into the wall instead of taking one more stroke. South African Chad Le Clos took that extra stroke and beat Phelps by five-hundredths of a second.

In the first final of the night, American Allison Schmitt won the 200 freestyle in an Olympic-record 1:53.61. Missy Franklin was denied her third medal of the Games, finishing fourth.

In the women's 200 individual medley, China's Ye Shiwen set an Olympic record to win her second gold of the Games, adding that to a world-record performance in the 400 IM that sparked suspicions about doping (see top of page).

Ye, 16, took the lead in the final lap and clocked 2:07.57, shaving 0.18 off her mark set in Monday's semifinal. Alicia Coutts of Australia took the silver medal and Caitlin Leverenz of the United States the bronze.

Comments
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Texas finances report shows how things have changed for Charlie Strong

Texas finances report shows how things have changed for Charlie Strong

A weekend report from USA Today regarding the revenue gains of Texas' athletic department in 2017 illustrates the culture shock — or sticker shock — former Longhorns coach Charlie Strong experienced upon moving to USF.The report indicated...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

Lessons of another Belichick-Brady Super Bowl

TAMPA — Next victim, please.Shouldn't we just start penciling the Patriots into the Super Bowl before every season?It would save us a lot of time.Mind you, the rest of the NFL is fighting Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and this foregone conclus...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pats’ Eric Lee the latest former Bull to reach Super Bowl

Pats’ Eric Lee the latest former Bull to reach Super Bowl

Former Bulls DE Eric Lee has joined one of the more elite fraternities in USF football lore.Lee, who had three tackles for the Patriots in Sunday's AFC Championship Game, becomes the 11th Bulls player to reach a Super Bowl. He's among only eight to r...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Super Bowl LII preview: First look at New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl LII preview: First look at New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Remember when the Bills were 3-1 and in first place in the AFC East? And when the Patriots were 2-2 and allowing 32 points per game? Weird, right?The Bills part, yes. The Patriots part, no.New England had done that before. Four other times in the Bil...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

PHILADELPHIA — Confetti filled the air, fireworks erupted overhead, and fans sang "Fly, Eagles Fly!" No one dared head for the exits. There was too much to celebrate.The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.The makeshift podium hadn’t taken space on Ph...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Updated: 10 hours ago
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sports in brief

Sports in brief

hockeyU.s. men’s olympic Gm, key program builder dies suddenlyLongtime USA Hockey executive and U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team general manager Jim Johannson died unexpectedly Sunday at age 53, shocking the sport less than three weeks before the start...
Updated: 11 hours ago