USA swimmer Missy Franklin reacts after the women’s 200m backstroke final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre. Franklin won the gold medal setting a new world record at 2:04.06. (Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports)
LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) – American teenager Missy Franklin confirmed her arrival as the new queen of the pool when she broke the world record to win the 200 metres backstroke final on Friday and become the first triple gold medalist of the London Olympics.
The 17-year-old from Colorado led the four-lap race from start to finish to win in a time of two minutes 04.06 seconds, slashing three-quarters of a second off Kirsty Coventry’s world record, which was set in a now banned polyurethane bodysuit.
Russia’s Anastasia Zueva won the silver medal and America’s Elizabeth Beisel the bronze but neither could keep up with the bubbly Franklin, who opened up a body’s length over the field after just 75 meters.
Franklin, who won the 200 backstroke world title last year, became the first woman in 12 years to complete the backstroke double at the Olympics and the first American since Melissa Belote in 1972.
Franklin also won gold medals in the 100 backstroke and 4×200 freestyle relay and a bronze in the 4×100 freestyle relay in London and is not finished yet.
She still has the medley relay to come on Saturday where the U.S. are overwhelming favorites to win gold.
Zimbabwe’s Coventry had won the gold at the last two Olympics and was bidding to become just the third woman to win the same individual event at three Olympics but could only manage sixth place.