Once again, Alain Bernard was in lane 5. Once again, he had a lead on his competitor in lane 4. Once again, Bernard snuck a peek at his opponent on the final stroke. And once again, the race was decided on the touch. But this time, Alain Bernard hit the wall first, winning the gold medal that eluded him Monday morning in Beijing.
Australia's Eamon Sullivan, who set the world record in the 100 free in yesterday's semifinals, touched second, .11 seconds behind Bernard. The man who
ran Bernard down in that 4x100 relay, Jason Lezak, earned the first individual medal of his Olympic career, finishing in a tie for third.
The gold provides some redemption for France's sprinting star, but it won't erase the memory of the loss to Lezak. No matter how many more medals he wins, Bernard will always be known for that relay collapse.
- Alain Bernard