Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Aquatic Centre, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Athina
Date Started: August 18, 2004
Date Finished: August 19, 2004
[Aaron Peirsol] of the USA had already won the 100 metres backstroke so was heavily favoured to repeat this success over this, his better event. It became clear at the semi-final stage, where Peirsol was two seconds faster than any of his rivals, that the rest of the field would merely be fighting for the silver and bronze medal. As expected the American proceeded to blitz the field and won by the almost unbelievable margin of nearly two and a half seconds. Peirsol was celebrating his victory when suddenly the scoreboard flickered and the letters DQ appeared next to his name to indicate he was disqualified from the final. His offence was to kick into the final turn after he'd turned onto his stomach to make the turn, which is illegal under the rules. For half an hour it appeared that [Markus Rogan] had become the first Austrian Olympic swimming champion since the inaugural Summer Olympics in 1896 but his joy was short-lived. FINA announced that the disqualification could not stand because the official judging the turns had made an error in the paperwork and had failed to describe the nature of the infringement in either French or English on the relevant document. This was a serious breach of the regulations. Appeals from both Austria and Great Britain were rejected.
Piersol returned for a third Olympic Games in 2008 but was narrowly beaten by his fellow American [Ryan Lochte]. His 2008 silver added to that won in 2000 meant that he became one of the rare few swimmers to have medalled in the same event at three successive Games.