The 2012 Summer Olympics’ Day 7 was a great one for American swimming, with two of its best (and, as such, biggest hyped) hopes delivering in a huge way. It’s easy to wax cynical about the coverage that’s surrounded swimmers Missy Franklin and Michael Phelps in the last month, but far easier to join in the joy that showed on their faces – and those of their families and coaches – when they hit their Olympic targets with flair.
First up, Franklin’s world-record-breaking turn in the 200-meter backstroke. The high school senior confidently knifed through the water, extended arms cycling like the blades on a combine, and was a body length ahead of the entire field going into the final flip turn. (She could’ve gotten a pedicure and read an US Weekly in the time between when she touched the wall and when her competitors followed suit.) Franklin’s gold-winning glee as she nearly leapt the lane line to hug teammate and bronze winner Elizabeth Beisel was mirrored in the stands as the teen’s coach wept, members of the U.S. basketball team got to their feet and Royal Ken and Barbie (Wills and Kate) joined in the hearty applause.
Having bested rival and teammate Ryan Lochte in the 200-meter individual medley the day before, Phelps’ Friday was all about going for his second Olympic threepeat – a feat he accomplished with a gold medal-winning glide through the 100m butterfly. Slow off the start and seventh at the turn, Phelps turned it on in the last few moments of the race, pulling ahead of the pack to nab first place. It was his last individual event of what he claims are his last Olympic games, and he seemed genuinely carefree as he talked about the following day’s relay, his final swim. “We’re going to have some fun tomorrow,” he said, dripping with pool water and grinning with unadulterated happiness.
What was your favorite moment of Day 7? There were plenty to choose from, including Hannah Starling’s contented hop into the warming pool after a dive that advanced the young Brit to the next round of the women’s 3-meter springboard and the crazy slow-mo footage of the female sprinters doing their thing on the track. Hit the comments and let us know what glimpses of the games’ Day 7 gave you goosebumps!Follow @kimroots