LONDON – The American gambit of putting superstars Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte both on the 4x100 freestyle relay blew up Sunday night, but did land the U.S. on the medal podium in a furiously competitive race.
[ Photos: Ryan Lochte's grill of victory ]
The Americans earned a silver medal, finishing second behind France in a stunning turnaround from 2008. Back then, the U.S. had come from behind to win gold. Now, France did the same as Lochte gave away the lead.
In a decision cloaked in secrecy until 6:45 p.m. London time Sunday night, the U.S. opted to put Lochte in the anchor leg despite his inexperience in the event, and moved Phelps out of his customary lead-off position in favor of trials champion Nathan Adrian.
[ Related: USA left with silver after Loche comes up short ]
Adrian got the U.S. off to a fast start with a lead leg of 47.89 to put the Yanks in first. Then Phelps extended the advantage with a sizzling leg of 47.15. Cullen Jones in third held the lead and handed the gold to Lochte.
He couldn’t hold on.
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