Kosuke Hagino of Japan and Wang Shun of China have become the first two Asian athletes to earn Olympic medals in the men’s 200 IM. Hagino, who won the 400 IM on Sunday, finished second in a time of 1:56.61 while Wang hit the wall third in a time of 1:57.05.
Neither man was able to break their own national records, but it was enough to stand on the podium with American Michael Phelps who won his fourth consecutive Olympic gold in the 200 IM.
This was not hard to see coming considering that Hagino finished second in the event at the 2013 World Championships while Wang took the bronze at the 2015 World Championships last summer. The two also came into Rio as the second and fourth ranked swimmers in the world.
Even though it was not a surprise it was a historic showing for the Asian man. There was no Asian male in the finals of the 200 IM from 1968 when the event was introduced to the 2000 Games (the event was not swum in 1976 or 1980).
There were Japanese men in the finals at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games with the two top finishers being Ken Takakuwa in 2008 and Hagino in 2012 who both placed fifth.