Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Aquatic Centre, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Athina
Date Started: August 20, 2004
Date Finished: August 21, 2004
One simple statistic explains the history of this event at the Olympic Games namely that the USA had won 20 of the 22 heats and finals in which they have competed. Add the fact that their two defeats came in heat swims where sub-strength teams idled to easy qualifications and you fully explain the domination that America has over the medley relay. The golden streak was easily maintained in Athens despite the decision of Michael Phelps, the 100 metre butterfly champion, to give up his place in the final to silver medallist Ian Crocker. After Aaron Peirsol broke his own world record in the backstroke lead there was no way back for rest of the field and each American increased the team’s lead as the race progressed. The winning time of 3:30.68 took 0.86 of a second off the world record that the same quartet of Peirsol, Hansen, Crocker and Lezak had set at the World Championships in Barcelona a year later. Germany, who won silver, and third placed Japan both set continental records.