Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 20, 1996
Date Finished: July 20, 1996
For the first century of the Games Belgian swimmers had been the epitome of bit part players of the Olympic stage. Only a single bronze medal won by [Ingrid Lempereur] at the boycott hit 1984 Olympic Games had spoiled the nation’s run of failure.
At the Atlanta Games this changed in the first men’s final of the meet. [Fred Deburghgraeve] had made little impact on his Olympic début in 1992 but had made continuous progress ever since. A bronze medal at the 1994 World Championships had been followed in 1995 by a victory at the European Championships. Deburghgraeve’s heat swim was a statement of intent as he took a third of a second off [Károly Güttler] and was nearly a second faster than any of his rivals. World champion [Norbert Rózsa] failed to qualify for the final after placing only 17th in the heats.
Deburghgraeve’s approach to the final was simple – blast away from the gun and hope to hang on until the finish. The first part of the race went to plan but, as the wall approached, American [Jeremy Linn] moved through to challenge. A last lunge did the trick for the Belgian who became his nation’s first Olympic swimming champion.
|2||Jeremy Linn||21||United States||USA||Silver|
|6||Kurt Grote||22||United States||USA|
|10||Daniel Málek||23||Czech Republic||CZE|
|11||Richard Maden||23||Great Britain||GBR|
|14||Paul Kent||24||New Zealand||NZL|
|AC r2/2||Roman Ivanovsky||19||Russia||RUS||DQ|
|21||Todd Torres||28||Puerto Rico||PUR|
|24||Jo Gwang-Je||16||South Korea||KOR|
|33||Huang Chih-Yung||28||Chinese Taipei||TPE|
|34||Juan José Madrigal||22||Costa Rica||CRC|
|37||Francisco Suriano||17||El Salvador||ESA|