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Swimming at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games:

Women's 200 metres Freestyle

Swimming at the 1996 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

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Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 21, 1996
Date Finished: July 21, 1996

Gold: CRC Claudia Poll
Silver: GER Franziska van Almsick
Bronze: GER Dagmar Hase

Summary

Franziska van Almsick, one of the last products of the East German sports system, had won four Olympic medals as a 14-year-old at Barcelona in 1992. By 1996 she was a genuine superstar in her native Germany and was reigning World Champion in this event – her win at the 1994 World Championship was a rare victory for the rest of the world in a championship of Chinese dominance.

This made van Almsick a clear favourite to win the event though some doubts, specifically about her sometimes erratic performances in heat swims, still remained. The German swimmer actually produced one of her best qualifying swims in Atlanta and was the fastest of the eight qualifiers.

The second fastest qualifier was Claudia Poll of Costa Rica, who was the current short course world champion at the distance. To everyone’s surprise Poll took the lead from the German at 75 metres and was never headed as she sped away to take her country’s first ever Olympic gold.

This completed a unique double for the Poll family as her sister Sylvia had won Costa Rica’s only other Olympic medal eight years earlier. After the race Van Almsick commented “I think I was

overwhelmed by the atmosphere. There were so many people there, all yelling - I'm not used to that."

Poll got into trouble with the Olympic authorities for wearing sponsors logos on her swimming cap and teeshirt. She was given a warning by the IOC for breaching the Olympic Charter. She returned to win more medals in 2000 and, after serving a drug suspension, also competed in 2004

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Claudia Poll 23 Costa Rica CRC Gold
2 Franziska van Almsick 18 Germany GER Silver
3 Dagmar Hase 26 Germany GER Bronze
4 Trina Jackson 19 United States USA
5 Susie O'Neill 22 Australia AUS
6 Cristina Teuscher 18 United States USA
7 Julia Greville 17 Australia AUS
8 Luminiţa Dobrescu 25 Romania ROU
9 Martina Moravcová 20 Slovakia SVK
10 Suzu Chiba 20 Japan JPN
11 Louise Jöhncke 19 Sweden SWE
12 Solenne Figuès 17 France FRA
13 Karen Pickering 24 Great Britain GBR
14 Tonia Makhaira 25 Greece GRE
15 Dionne Bainbridge 18 New Zealand NZL
16 Joanne Malar 20 Canada CAN
17 Chen Yan 15 China CHN QC
18 Paula Harmokivi 21 Finland FIN
19 Kristýna Kyněrová 17 Czech Republic CZE
20 Naoko Imoto 20 Japan JPN
21 Olena Lapunova 15 Ukraine UKR
22 Tatyana Litovchenko 18 Russia RUS
23 Shan Ying 17 China CHN
24 Malin Nilsson 22 Sweden SWE
25 Lorena Diaconescu 17 Romania ROU
26 Sandra Cam 24 Belgium BEL
27 Marion Madine 25 Ireland IRL
28 Carolyn Adel 17 Suriname SUR
29 Ana Alegria 19 Portugal POR
30 Heleen Muller 18 South Africa RSA
31 Ravee Intporn-Udom 15 Thailand THA
32 Lee Ji-Hyeon 16 South Korea KOR
33 Inga Borodich 17 Belarus BLR
34 Rania El-Wani 18 Egypt EGY
35 Chang Wei-Chia 15 Chinese Taipei TPE
36 Mia Muusfeldt 16 Denmark DEN
37 Maritza Chiaway 21 Peru PER
38 Chantal Strasser 18 Switzerland SUI
39 Joscelin Yeo 17 Singapore SIN
40 Teresa Moodie 17 Zimbabwe ZIM
41 Laura Petrutytė 19 Lithuania LTU
42 Marina Zarma 18 Cyprus CYP