Connect with Us:  

VD Burgh Gold & 58.46WR For Dale Oen

Jul 29, 2012

Olympic Games, London, Day 2 finals:

Men's 100m breaststroke

Another shiny suit time is sunk: Cameron Van Der Burgh, of South Africa, throttled the field with a 58.46 blast for victory, Christian Sprenger (AUS) on 58.93 for silver and Brendan Hansen (USA) taking bronze in 59.49 and finally beating his nemesis Kosuke Kitajima (JPN), fifth, with Daniel Gyurta (HUN) just locked out of the medals.  

The debut male triple crown target is alive for Michael Phelps still. No shame for Kitajima, who was already the oldest man ever to win the crown back in 2008, at almost 26: he joins a club of greats who have tried and fallen shy, including Kieren Perkins, Alex Popov and Grant Hackett.

The crown has passed and it was immediately dedicated to the missing world champion Alexander Dale Oen (NOR), whose parents sat up in the stand with the Van der Burghs to watch Cameron prosper for both men. Asked what was said between the two families, the champion replied: "There's nothing to say. This is about feeling the love and celebrating the life of a great friend who we miss so much."

The Norwegian world champion of 2011 suffered heart problems and died during a training camp in April this year. Dale Oen once said that he had no fear of death after an incident with Van der Burgh: the pair were on a rubber tube being towed by a boat off the South African coast when a Killer Whale flew out of the water metres away. De Burgh recalled: "It was close to us, and it was huge. I thought, 'this is it'.". Dale Oen smiled and said: "No fear!"

Van der Burgh tweeted at the time: "To my greatest rival. My greatest friend. My brother in breaststroke. May you rest in peace. One love." He later added: "He passed doing what he loved. For the sport he loved".

The South African, honed down and cut like we've never seen him cut, showed his passion in the water today, turning in 27.07, 0.58sec up on Sprenger and 0.60sec inside Australian Brenton Rickard's world record pace. In Rome 2009, suits brought folk back to the finish wall better than they could have managed on their own steam but Van der Burgh found what it took to stop the clock 0.12sec inside the 2009 standard with a 31.39 return.

Van der Burgh becomes the first South African to win the crown. A video of his start showed him dolphin kicking in the glide phase of his dive but when he engaged his arms Van Der Burgh did just one dolphin kick. The video also showed others doing the same even though guidelines to lane judges frown on any dolphin kicking on breaststroke. The issue will not be resolved until underwater cameras, already tested successfully by FINA, are made an official part of officiating.

London 2012

  • 1. Cameron van der Burgh (RSA) 27.07; 31.39; 58.46
  • 2. Christian Sprenger (AUS) 27.65; 31.28; 58.93
  • 3. Brendan Hansen (USA) 27.85; 31.64; 59.49

Beijing 2008:

  • 1. Kitajima (JPN) 58.91 WR
  • 2. Dale Oen (NOR) 59.20 ER
  • 3. Duboscq (FRA) 59.37

Fastest field ever: Beijing 2008: 58.91 - 1:00.24

Comparison fields:

  • London 2012 - 58.46 - 1:00.84
  • Shanghai 2011: 58.71 - 1:00.52
  • Beijing 2008: 58.91 - 1:00.24
  • Melbourne 2007: 59.80 - 1:01.67
  • Athens 2004: 1:00.08 - 1:02.42

To qualify for the final it took: 

  • 59.78   London 2012
  • 1:00.26 Shanghai 2011
  • 1:00.55 Beijing 2008