Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 9, 2008
Date Finished: August 10, 2008
The 400 freestyle at the Beijing Olympics promised to be a clash between the old and the new. The old guard was represented by 28-year-old Australian [Grant Hackett] in his third Olympic Games whilst the standard bearer for the new generation was the teenaged Korean [Park Tae-Hwan] who had upset Hackett to win the world title in 2007. Hackett led in the early stages but Park took control of the final by the half way mark and was clear with a hundred metres to go. As the race neared its end Park's lead was reduced by the fast finishing [Zhang Lin] but, although roared on by the home crowd, the Chinese swimmer could not catch the Korean. Park's victory was the first by a Korean swimmer at Olympic level. As Hackett faded back to sixth [Larsen Jensen] of the USA moved through to claim the bronze medal. This event was one of the few in Beijing that did not see the world record broken. The record, held by [Ian Thorpe], would last another year.