Rio money tasted like regret, Tokyo money tasted like gold: Frenchman Florent Manaudou has won his bet by winning, this Sunday, second place in the 50m freestyle, behind the untouchable American Caeleb Dressel, after having moved away from the pools until spring 2019 pour dedication to handball.
The 2012 Olympic champion and vice-champion of the Rio 2016 Olympics swam in 21.55, the second best time of his second career, while Dressel set a new Olympic record (21.07) and the Brazilian Bruno Fratus took bronze (21.57). Placed at water line n ° 5, the 30-year-old Frenchman was unable to follow the extraordinary start of the 24-year-old American, who went to win his 4th gold medal. Dressel added that of the 4x100m medley at the end of the morning, thanks to his supersonic butterfly relay.
But Florent Manaudou won his fourth Olympic medal in three editions of the Olympics, adding the silver of the 2016 4x100m relay to his three individual podiums.
“What am I most proud of?” To have succeeded in taking advantage of the moment, of the present moment. I wanted to do that, I had never really succeeded in doing it, ”said the sprinter, long tense this year by the difficulty of regaining his times of yesteryear.
” You smile “
“I managed to tell myself: we train four years, ten years, fifteen years to live an Olympic final and when we live it, we are afraid, it’s still quite paradoxical”, added the only swimmer French medalist of these Games. Leaping to the edge of the pool, he remained to encourage his companion, the Danish Pernille Blume, who pocketed the bronze medal in the 50m dominated by the Australian Emma McKeon, after being crowned over the distance in Rio.
“It’s incredible to be able to have two medals on the same day, almost at the same time, it’s phew,” said Florent Manaudou. A few weeks ago, however, the chances of the podium seemed slim for the younger brother of Laure Manaudou, who launched the golden era of French swimming by winning the 400m of the 2004 Olympics at only 17 years old. Surprise winner of the 50m of the London 2012 Olympics, at 21, the swimmer from Ain who trains in Marseille was beaten in Rio in 2016 by the American Anthony Erwin, for a hundredth, while he came strong from his three world championship titles in 2015.
“When I got behind the block, I said to myself: you’re doing like in London. You smile and we’ll see what happens. And I was really too good. I looked at the end of the basin, I was happy. While in Rio, I said to myself, damn, over there, it’s over, finally! He remembers.
Leaving orphan a French team in full reconstruction, the sprinter had abandoned swimming after Rio to try his luck in handball, his youthful passion, before plunging back into 2019.
McKeon ends his raid
If his first lap times had been encouraging (21.56 at the end of January 2020), confinement had interrupted his progress: before the Games, he skated this season between 21 ” 7/10 and 8/10, staying away of the European podium (5th) in mid-May in Budapest.
But he accelerated at the best time, in the heats on Friday (21.65) then in the semi-finals the next day (21”53), happy to “live a fifth Olympic final” including those of the 4×100 m in Rio (silver) and Tokyo (6th).
In the day’s other finals, which came to complete the 35 swimming events in Tokyo, the Australian Emma McKeon won in quick succession over 50 m and then with the 4×100 medley, her third and fourth coronations of these Games.
By adding the three bronze medals won in the 100m butterfly, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley mixed, she even becomes the most medalist woman in a single edition of the Olympic Games. Over 1,500m, the young American Robert Finke, 21, confirmed his new status as king of the long distance after having already won the 800m on Thursday.
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