Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 23, 1996
Date Finished: July 23, 1996
Every time this event had been held at the Olympic Games the US team had won gold and all but once they had done so in world record time. Added to the fact that America were also the current world champions this suggested that a US victory was one of the biggest certainties of the entire Games.
At the first changeover in the final the USA were out of the medals in fourth and, although over the next two legs they improved, they were still trailing Russia and Germany and a shock defeat appeared likely.
However the two European nations had top loaded their best swimmers whilst the American trump card [Gary Hall, Jr.] was to swim the anchor leg for the home team. Hall took two seconds off his main rivals and vaulted his team to a clear victory. Their only disappointment was that they failed, by a third of a second, to break the world record.
For Hall this was the first gold medal of the five he won during his career and meant that he followed his father, also [Gary Hall], as an Olympic champion.