Add this to the French to-do list at the Olympics: trash talk after you win the race.
French swimmer Alain Bernard fueled media frenzy before the men’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay in Beijing with his prediction for the race: “The Americans? We will smash them. That’s what we came here for.”
Smashed instead was Bernard’s world record and the French reputation for trash talking. American swimmer Jason Lezak outstretched Bernard in the breathtaking final split of the men’s 4 x 100m relay Monday to give Team USA the gold. Bernard had the lead until Lezak’s fingertips touched the wall .08 seconds before his own.
Lezak swam the fastest leg in relay history, though it is not eligible for an official record. The time posted by Australia’s Eamon Sullivan in the leadoff leg was eligible, however, and broke Bernard’s 100 meter world record.
Cullen Jones, Michael Phelps and Garrett Weber-Gale rounded out the new Fantastic Four for Team USA. The French, who were favored to win, finished second.
As for Bernard, it’s uncertain what he should work on next — his foresight, his trash talking, or reclaiming his world record. At least he’s already learned one thing from his USA rivals in these Olympics: silence is golden.