ATHENS, Greece -- Ai Shibata of Japan won Olympic gold in
the 800-meter freestyle Friday night, ending the United States'
dominance of the event.
Shibata finished in 8 minutes, 25.54 seconds to earn her first
major international medal. She was fifth in the 400 freestyle in
Laure Manaudou of France earned silver in 8:24.96 for her third
medal of these games. She won gold in the 400 freestyle and bronze
in the 100 backstroke.
Americans had won the event in five consecutive Olympics,
including back-to-back titles by Janet Evans in 1988 and 1992 and
Brooke Bennett in 1996 and 2000. Tiffany Cohen started the streak
at the boycotted 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Coventry wins 200 backstroke
Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe won the
Olympic gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke Friday night.
Coventry led all the way and finished in 2 minutes, 9.19
Coventry swims at Auburn University, although her family lives
in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare. She already won a silver in the
100 back and a bronze in the 200 individual medley in Athens.
Margaret Hoelzer of Huntsville, Ala., finished fifth in 2:10.70.