Hackett wins in record time

ATHENS, AUG. 21. Grant Hackett successfully defended his Olympic 1,500m freestyle title on Saturday night continuing Australia's domination of the gruelling race.

Hackett won gold in an Olympic record of 14 minutes, 43.40 seconds — nearly five seconds faster than his winning time at the Sydney Games. Larsen Jensen of the United States earned the silver in 14:45.29 — lowering his own American record by more than 11 1/2 seconds. David Davies of Britain took bronze in 14:45.95.

Hackett became the fifth man in Olympic history to win two titles in the 1,500m. His countryman Kieren Perkins won in 1992 and 1996, and Hackett defeated him four years ago in Sydney.

Jensen's medal was the best showing by the United States since Mike O'Brien and George DiCarlo finished 1-2 at the boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Games.

De Bruijn triumphs

Inge de Bruijn of The Netherlands won the 50m freestyle for the second consecutive Olympics. Her time of 24.58 seconds was 26-hundredths of a second slower than her winning time at the Sydney Games.

Malia Metella of France earned silver in 24.89 and Lisbeth Lenton of Australia took bronze in 24.91.

De Bruijn became the first woman to win consecutive sprint titles since the event was added to the Olympic program in 1988.

"This is just the best birthday present I could hope for. A gold in the last day of the program, what a climax," the Dutchwoman said. "It's an amazing feeling."

De Bruijn also won silver in the 100m freestyle, and bronzes in the 100m butterfly and 400m freestyle relay.

Therese Alshammar of Sweden, the silver medallist in Sydney, was fourth.

Aussies upset Americans

Petria Thomas overtook Jenny Thompson on the third leg of the Olympic women's 4x100m medley relay helping Australia to a world record and upset of the United States.

Giaan Rooney, Leisel Jones, Thomas and Jodie Henry finished in a world mark of three minutes, 57.32 seconds, breaking the record of 3:58.30 set by the United States at the Sydney Games.

Americans Natalie Coughlin, Amanda Beard, Thompson and Kara Lynn Joyce settled for silver in 3:59.12. Germany took bronze in 4:00.72.

Thompson became the most decorated American athlete in the Olympics with her record 12th career medal, including 10 from relays. She broke a tie with swimmers Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi and shooter Carl Osburn.

Phelps equals record

American swimmer Michael Phelps won an Olympic record-equalling eighth medal at the Athens Games when the U.S. team took gold in the men's 4x100 metres medley relay today.

The 19-year-old, who did not swim in the final but won a medal by virtue of having taken part in the heats, now has six golds and two bronze medals to match Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin's 1980 record for the most medals at one Games.

Piersol sets new mark

American Aaron Peirsol broke the men's 100 metres backstroke world record when he clocked 53.45 in the first leg of the men's 4x100 metres medley relay. Peirsol improved the time of 53.60 set by countryman Lenny Krayzelburg in 1999. — Agencies