Host City: Barcelona, Spain
Venue(s): Bernat Picornell Pools, Barcelona
Date Started: July 28, 1992
Date Finished: July 28, 1992
Swimming World said, "Its hard not to imagine [Matt Biondi] winning." He was the defending champion, the world record holder with 48.42, had the eight fastest times in the event, and 12 of the top 13, and had won the event at the 1986 and 1991 World Championships and the 1985, 1987, and 1991 Pan Pacifics. Russian [Aleksandr Popov] was the 1991 European Champion and in 1991 had tied Biondi and France's [StÃ©phan Caron] for the leading time in the world (49.18). But he was considered only a contender for a medal, not the gold. Someone forgot to tell him that.
Popov qualified first with 49.27. In the final he was only sixth at 50 metres, and then swam the back 50 in 24.99, the first time anyone had bettered 25 seconds for the back 50 of the 100 freestyle. This brought him home in a PR of 49.02 for the gold medal. Biondi led at the turn, but flagged badly in the final lap and placed only fifth.
The scoreboard initially showed Caron as second and Brazilian [Gustavo Borges] last in 1:02, which was an obvious mistake. It turned out his touchpad had malfunctioned so the officials reviewed the film and he was given 49.53, tying him with Biondi for fourth. But on further review, the officials realized they were looking at Biondi's finish and Borges time was corrected to 49.43, giving him the silver medal.