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Swimming at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games:

Men's 50 metres Freestyle

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Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 25, 1996
Date Finished: July 25, 1996

Gold: RUS Aleksandr Popov
Silver: USA Gary Hall, Jr.
Bronze: BRA Xuxa Scherer


In 1992 [Aleksandr Popov] was an outsider to win an Olympic title but things were very different when he came to defend the two gold medals in Atlanta. The four years between Olympics had been good for Popov and he was undefeated in major championships at both 50 and 100 metres freestyle since the Barcelona Games.

Popov’s main danger for the gold medal was [Gary Hall, Jr.] and the two men enjoyed a fierce rivalry and regularly swapped insults through newspaper interviews. The Russian had already defeated Hall in the 100 metres freestyle and repeated the feat in the shorter event. For 40 metres Popov and Hall were level but the defending champion finished the quicker and won by 0.13 of a second.

The bronze medalist, [Xuxa Scherer] of Brazil, was one of three men who tied for the seventh qualifying place for the final and only qualified via a swim-off.

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