Host City: Athina, Greece
Venue(s): Olympic Aquatic Centre, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Athina
Date Started: August 15, 2004
Date Finished: August 16, 2004
The big question of this event was whether an Australian or American could challenge [Luo Xuejuan] of China, the woman who had won both world titles since the Sydney Olympics.
For a while the answer seemed to be âYesâ as Luo struggled to reach her best form and only qualified for the final as seventh fastest of the qualifiers.
Much the most impressive performer in the earlier rounds was Australiaâs [Leisel Jones]. Jones had also been a standout at the 2003 World Championships but in that final Luo had successfully gambled everything on a fast start that seemed to unnerve the Australian. Would the Olympic final follow the same path? The answer was yes. Luo was never challenged after making a lightning start and only narrowly missed breaking Jonesâ world record as she took the Olympic title.
The contest between two Australians for silver and bronze ended with a fingertipâs length victory for [Brooke Hanson] with Jones narrowly relegated to third place.
This was the high point of Luoâs career as her career became increasingly hampered by a heart condition that led to her retirement from swimming in 2007.