Sun Yang and Park Tae-Hwan all set to make a splash
Records are meant to be broken, they say. But the one by Ian Thorpe has withstood the test of time. The Australian champion swimmer won the 400m freestyle final at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in a time of three minutes 40.59 seconds and that continues to be an Olympic record.
But there is all likelihood that the ‘Thorpedo’s timing could be erased.
The swimmers, who are very much capable of racing past Thorpe — figuratively speaking— are Sun Yang and Park Tae-Hwan.
These two young swimmers have done enough to warrant attention, and the contest between the two will be the focus of the discerning.
One of the finest
Park, 22 years, the reigning Olympic and World champion, is one of the finest swimmers to have emerged from South Korea.
Park would consider himself to be the favourite as he had pipped Sun in the FINA World championship final in Shanghai last year.
At the Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre, Park started well, slowed down in the middle, kicked up speed in the last 100m overtaking Sun only by fraction of a second.
How much Sun would like to exert for the 400m event given the fact that his pet event is the 1500m freestyle where he created a world record in the FINA World championship last year? A true professional that he is, Sun would give it his all.
Sun, who considers Park his idol, however, feels that he has the edge.
Going by their best performances in 2012, Sun has fared better. Sun has clocked 3:42.31 while Park’s stands at 3:44.22. “Definitely (I) want two (medals),” said Sun.
“But nobody can guarantee anything at the Olympics. Someone may come up as a dark horse.
“One gold in the 1,500m is already tough, and it will be perfect enough if I can grab that one.”
One such dark horse that Sun was referring to could be his country-mate Hao Yun, who finished second behind Sun in the Olympic trials in April this year. The 17-year-old touted as a prodigy, could spring a surprise.
There are a handful of regulars who are expected to upset the applecart like Germany’s Paul Biedermann, whose world record in 2009 in Rome World championships still stands, Tunisia’s Oussama Mellouli and Canada’s Ryan Cochrane.
Will Park retain the title? Or will Sun become the first male Olympic swimming champion from China? Or will Thorpe’s record remain?
The contest is well worth a watch for more than one reason.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics