BEIJING -- There is a moment (or so we are told) when a mother, seeing her baby in mortal danger, is capable of performing an act of strength that defies human limitations.
To put the 100-meter freestyle relay leg of
Maybe the perspective from the aerie of the press tribune at the far end of the Water Cube is different than the HD Phelps-alooza you were treated to back in the United States, but this is what I saw: as swimmers made the turn after 50 meters, it appeared there was no way Lezak could catch
Despite some visible-to-the-naked eye gains on Bernard, with 25 meters remaining Lezak looked like he would run out of swimming pool. He later would say that he was thinking it doesn't matter how much it hurt because he was representing the United States of America and had to push -- this would be the most extraordinary window into an athletes' mind opened to journalists during these Olympics -- and so he pushed. In the final five meters, Lezak seemed to be almost even with the Frenchman. When they hit the touch pad, they turned quickly and saw on the scoreboard that the U.S. had nipped France by .08 of a second. Lezak's split time had been 46.07, the fastest in history by about three-quarters of a second.
On the pool deck,
This was the triumph of The Other Guy. This was the victory of all of us.