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Swimming at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games:

Men's 200 metres Backstroke

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Host City: Los Angeles, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Swim Stadium, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California
Date Started: July 31, 1984
Date Finished: July 31, 1984

Gold: USA Rick Carey
Silver: FRA Frédéric Delcourt
Bronze: CAN Cam Henning

Summary

In 1982 Rick Carey had won the World Championships in this event and in 1983, he bettered [John Naber’s] vaunted world record from the Montréal Olympics. He improved that at the 1984 US Olympic Trials with 1:58.86 and was the clear favorite for gold in the 200 back. In the heats he bettered Naber’s Olympic record, finishing in 1:58.99 and hoped to improve in the final and set another world record. He won quite easily, finishing 1½ seconds ahead of France’s Frédéric Delcourt, but his time was disappointing to him – 2:00.23. Rather than celebrate he pouted on the medal podium, did not smile, and acted like a spoiled child. Not acknowledging them, the pro-American crowd responded with a chorus of boos, and the press went after him. In his post-race interview, he said, “I would have won no matter what. I didn’t feel good but no one can beat me. That’s not vanity or cockiness. I had control of the race al all times, feeling as bad as I did.”

Carey was so harshly criticized that he had to offer a formal apology. A few days later he came back to win the 100 backstroke and this time smiled, and let everyone know he was happy. He would also win a third gold medal in Los Angeles in the medley relay. A few weeks after the Olympics, Sergey Zabolotnov of the Soviet Union broke Carey’s world record at the Friendship Games.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Rick Carey 21 United States USA Gold
2 Frédéric Delcourt 20 France FRA Silver
3 Cam Henning 23 Canada CAN Bronze
4 Ricardo Prado 19 Brazil BRA
5 Gary Hurring 22 New Zealand NZL
6 Nicolai Klapkarek 19 West Germany FRG
7 Ricardo Aldabe 19 Spain ESP
8 David Orbell 21 Australia AUS
9 Paolo Falchini 20 Italy ITA
10 Mike West 19 Canada CAN
11 Michael Söderlund 22 Sweden SWE
12 Djan Madruga 25 Brazil BRA
13 Stefan Peter 19 West Germany FRG
14 Neil Cochran 19 Great Britain GBR
15 Fabrizio Bortolon 19 Italy ITA
16 Daichi Suzuki 17 Japan JPN
17 Jesse Vassallo 22 United States USA QC
18 Hans Fredin 18 Sweden SWE
19 Kim Terrell 21 Australia AUS
20 Paul Kingsman 17 New Zealand NZL
21 Giovanni Frigo 20 Venezuela VEN
22 Patrick Ferland 18 Switzerland SUI
23 Kristofer Stivenson 19 Greece GRE
24 Neil Harper 19 Great Britain GBR
25 Luki Niode 20 Indonesia INA
26 Ernesto Vela 15 Mexico MEX
27 Allan Marsh 21 Jamaica JAM
28 Wang Hao 21 China CHN
29 Emad El-Shafei 28 Egypt EGY
30 Alejandro Alvizuri 16 Peru PER
31 Dave Morley 18 Bahamas BAH
32 Salvador Salguero 16 El Salvador ESA
33 Ernesto José Degenhart 18 Guatemala GUA
34 Juan José Piro Honduras HON