Canada added its second medal of the day Wednesday afternoon, and for Brent Hayden, bronze was as good as gold.
Hayden finished third in the 100-metre freestyle in 47.80, behind only Nathan Adrian of the U.S. and James Magnussen of Australia. Hayden’s final push to the wall allowed him to edge out French star Yannick Agnel for the bronze. Agnel had already won gold in the 200m freestyle, gold in the 4x100m freestyle, and silver in the 4x200m freestyle.
[Photos: Canadian medal winners]
Hayden won Canada's sixth medal, and fifth bronze, of the 2012 Olympics.
“I never thought I could love lane seven so much,” Hayden said. “It was about digging down deep right into my soul. Physically I wasn’t that fast but emotionally and spiritually I had that extra push.”
Hayden beat his qualifying time of 48:13 to nab another podium spot for Canada. Hayden was ranked fourth after the semis. He was in second place through the first 50 metres and let loose at the end, he told CTV: "With 25 metres left, right when it started to hurt, I just told myself Brent, this could be the last 100 meter freestyle you ever swim - just go for it.”
The Mission, B.C., native is a former world champion and world silver medalist in the same distance. But Olympic success had eluded him. In Beijing in 2008 he was hampered by back problems and poor decisions. He admitted to letting up in the semi-final and missed out on the final.
“There was no pressure. Beijing was pressure,” he said. “This time was about maturity and making sure I’m doing what I’ve got to do in my lane.”
Hayden is the first Canadian man to win an Olympic medal in the 100-metre freestyle. Dick Pound was the last Canadian man to swim the final and he presented Hayden with his silver medal.
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