China’s Sun Yang, only 20 years old, crushed the 1500 meter freestyle world record, 14:34.14, his mark from the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai. Yang shaved 3.12 seconds off that time, finishing the Olympic final in 14:31.02. That was Yang’s fourth medal of the Olympics and his second gold.
Sun Yang‘s 2011 World Championship swim erased Grant Hackett’s 10-year old world record. Yang was off-pace in Shanghai until he unleashed a blistening last 50, a signature move by the man many are calling the greatest miler in history.
Here’s the 1500 freestyle World Record progression.
Sun Yang‘s 1500 freestyle performance from the 2011 World Championships:
Yang’s Olympic 1500 freestyle splits:
Yang was over eight and half seconds faster than the sliver medalist, Canada’s Ryan Cochrane. Cochrane, a bronze medalist in this event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, netted silver this time in 14:39.63.
Ous Mellouli trailed Cochrane most of the race, closing at the end, but it wasn’t enough. Mellouli, the defending champion in this event from the Beijing Olympics, won the bronze in 14:40.31. Mellouli, from Tunisia, trained a USC and has been plagued by shoulder problems since 2010.
Connor Jaeger, Team USA, touched the wall in sixth place with a 14:52.99.