Just after Jess Schipper had taken a big hit at the hands of two Chinese teenagers, Aussie teammate Eamon Sullivan added to the woe of the Dolphins when he went down to Alain Bernard (FRA), 47.21 to 47.32 in the 100m freestyle final.
The first Frenchman to win the blue ribband crown shadowed Sullivan 22.53 to 22.48 at the turn, out of which the battle boiled stroke for stroke. Some 10m out from the wall, Sullivan's smooth stroke showed signed of cracking under the pressure but Bernard's bulk just kept on rolling into the wall. The European champion returned in 24.68 to the Dolphin's 24.84 and the game was up: 47.21 left Bernard 0.16sec shy of the world record (set by the Australian in semis) but the prize was his. Such explosive raw power is the new face of sprinting in a victory of the heavyweight over the slight, light surfer - at least in round one.
Jason Lezak (USA), after that rocket-man 46.06 in the relay, backed with a 22.86 and 47.67 effort, while the shared bronze of Cesar Cielo (BRA) came off a 22.47 split. In fifth was defending champion. The triple crown dream is gone. Pieter van den Hoogenband (NED) did his best to survive in a changed world and almost reached the podium again, falling just 0.08sec shy. At 50m, on 23.25, he was last over. He came home in the fastest second 50m of the final: 24.50, for a 47.75 effort - faster than his wins in 2000 and 2004.
Hail Pieter the Great - what a fabulous career for the only man in history to race in four Olympic 100m freestyle finals.