Bremerton's Nathan Adrian wins gold medal
Bremerton swimmer Nathan Adrian finished first in the men's 100-meter freestyle.
LONDON — Bremerton's Nathan Adrian earned a gold medal for the United States on Wednesday, coming from behind with a furious finish in the men's 100-meter freestyle to win by a fingertip.
Adrian's time of 47.52 edged favorite James Magnussen of Australia by one-hundredth of a second. The two raced side-by-side, Adrian in Lane 5 and Magnussen in Lane 4.
Canada's Brent Hayden earned the bronze medal in a time of 47.80 at the Aquatics Centre.
The 6-foot-7 Adrian was third at the 50-meter turn, but beat everyone to the wall. The finish was the closest of the London Games.
It took some time for the enormity of his victory to sink in, the 23-year-old told reporters after his golden moment.
"I kind of touched well and, 'Oh, sweet, I've won.' Then there's 10 to 15 seconds, (and) 'Holy crap, this is the Olympics. I've been watching this since I was a kid.'
He buried his head in his hands after realizing what he had done.
"It feels good," he said.
Though he was star-struck after the race, Adrian was completely focused before.
"This comes every four years and I knew I had to lay it all out on the line," Adrian told BBC Sport. "I put that effort into my (U.S. Olympic Trials) and I went 48.1, so with a little more rest I got a little faster."
Adrian — who swam in front of family members that included his mother, father, brother and sister — smiled, waved and a blew a kiss to the crowd as he was presented with his gold medal on the Olympic podium. After accepting his medal and a bouquet of flowers, he ran to his parents, Jim and Cecilia, and gave his mother the flowers.
Adrian earned his second medal of the London Olympics and third overall. He took a silver medal in the 400 free relay Sunday. Magnussen and Adrian swam head-to-head in the opening leg, with Adrian beating the Australian by .14 seconds. France edged the U.S. on a sensational final leg by Yannick Agnel to win gold in that event.
Adrian also earned a gold medal in Beijing at age 19 by swimming a leg in preliminaries of the men's 400 free relay.
Adrian, who swam for California as a collegian, is the first U.S. swimmer to win the 100 men's free in 24 years. Matt Biondi won gold at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988.
Adrian had the fastest qualifying time in preliminaries Tuesday, but Magnusson was favored after clocking the fastest time in the semifinals. Sebastiaan Verschuren of the Netherlands was fifth.
Information in this article, originally published Aug. 2, 2012, was corrected. A previous version of this story said Nathan Adrian was the first U.S. swimmer in 24 years to win an Olympic gold medal in the 200-meter freesty le. It should have said 100-meter freestyle.