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Missile bombs as men's relay team misses medal

Missile bombs as men's relay team misses medal

Mon July 30, 2012 9:01am

The Olympics are all about upsets - you just wish they don't happen to you and your nation. On Sunday night in London, one of the bigger ones in recent Olympic history occurred when the seemingly unbeatable Australian men's 4x100m freestyle relay team did not just fail to win gold, but left the pool without a medal of any colour.

The Olympics are all about upsets - you just wish they don't happen to you and your nation. On Sunday night in London, one of the bigger ones in recent Olympic history occurred when the seemingly unbeatable Australian men's 4x100m freestyle relay team did not just fail to win gold, but left the pool without a medal of any colour.

Led by James Magnussen, the fastest man in water, the Australians were unbackable favourites to win the gold. Seemingly, the only matter up for debate was who would take out silver and bronze. But when the wall was touched at the end of eight laps by Australia's number four, James Roberts, his nation had no medal and his team's mettle was being questioned.

It was clear very early - to those who knew what was supposed to happen - that Australia were in trouble. Magnussen led off, as he had when the team won the world title in Shanghai last year. But unlike in 2011, his pace was missing. It was as if he was swimming in board shorts.

He was supposed to give the team the lead, from where they would play catch us if you can. Instead, it was his teammates who had to do the chasing after Magnussen clocked 48.03s and touched second behind the American Nathan Adrian (47.89s). Magnussen's best is almost a full second faster at 47.10s.

From there, the team's race plan was out the window, and with it the gold. As Magnussen climbed from the pool and sat in a chair behind the blocks with his head in his hands, his teammates continued to battle - but they had clearly been rattled by his below-par opening leg and were unable to recover the lost ground.

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