US Freestyle Team Grabs Gold by a Fingertip

Phelps inches closer to eight gold medals
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2008 3:23 AM CDT
US Freestyle Team Grabs Gold by a Fingertip
France's Alain Bernard, right, is followed by Jason Lezak on the final leg of the men's 4x100-meter freestyle relay final.   (AP Photo/Bob Bukaty)

Jason Lezak pulled ahead in the final moments of the 400-meter freestyle relay to win a gold for the US men’s swimming team and push Michael Phelps one step closer to a record eight golds, ESPN reports. Lezak, 32, swam the fastest leg in history—46.06 seconds—finishing a mere .08 seconds before the second-place French as the US team set a new world record of 3:08.24.

“I knew I was going to have to swim out of my mind," Lezak said. "Still, I'm in disbelief." Lezak, the oldest swimmer on the US team, was nearly a body length behind the French leader at the final turn. “A fingertip did the victory—it is nothing," said a French swimmer. "Unbelievable," said Phelps, who swam the leadoff leg and then became the team's biggest cheerleader. "I lost my voice. I was definitely pretty emotional out there." (More swimming stories.)

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