Swimming: Clary wins 200m backstroke gold

Thu Aug 2, 2012 5:13pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

LONDON (Reuters) - Tyler Clary vindicated his decision to take on the world's toughest swimmers when he upset his American team mate Ryan Lochte to win the men's 200 meters backstroke gold medal at the London Olympics on Thursday.

Lochte went into the race as the overwhelming favorite and led at all the turns but faded on the last lap as Clary made his move.

Clary drew level with Lochte then pushed as hard as he could and won a tight finish to capture his first Olympic gold medal in a time of one minute, 53.41 seconds.

"I stuck to my guns and I was able to come by in those last few 15 meters and get my hand on the wall," he said. "That was the perfect race I swam...it couldn't have gone any better."

Japan's Ryosuke Irie, runner-up to Lochte at last year's world championships, also made a late charge to grab the silver while Lochte won the bronze.

Of the hundreds of swimmers competing at the Olympics, few faced a tougher challenge winning gold than Clary.

A glutton for punishment, the 23-year-old went head to head with Lochte and Michael Phelps in their favorite events. He failed to medal racing against Phelps in the 200 butterfly but made amends with his gold in the backstroke.

"You always have big dreams in your head. You hope that you might pull off something like that," he said.   Continued...

Tyler Clary of the U.S. looks and points upwards as he reacts after winning the men's 200m backstroke final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 2, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Dalder