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Jones and Trickett, too many similarities
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16:28, August 15, 2008

Australian swimmer Leisel Jones and Libby Trickett shared too many similarities.

Both are top gold favorites. Both are world record holders. Both are coming to Beijing for an individual Olympic gold. Both have, as they wished, pocketed one in Beijing. And both, with weird setbacks, settled for a silver in their signature races on Friday.

Jones, for so long the world's benchmark breaststroker, lost the 200-meter breaststroke to U.S. swimmer Rebecca Soni, who got the berth as a substitute only several days before the Olympics following Jessica Hardy's positive test of banned substance.

In a race which was expected to be a monodrama of Jones, the Aussie swimmer was seen struggling to breathe at the last stage and was comprehensively beaten by Soni. Minutes after climbing out of the pool, Jones collapsed and medical staff rushed to help.

After Jones recollected herself, she told reporters that she had struggled to breathe when she fell further behind on the final lap -- a problem that also occurred at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

"I just couldn't breathe. I just dug so deep. It happened after my world record at the Commonwealth Games as well, so it's exactly the same," she said. "I don't suffer from asthma, it's just purely digging deep and trying too hard, properly not really conscious of my breathing till I got to the end"

It was an incredible setback for Jones, based on her dominance of the breaststroke ranks since the disappointments of Athens four years ago. Coming into the Olympics she had been the owner of eight of the fastest 10 times in history over the four lap race.

What happened to her teammate Trickett is equally weird.

Tirckett, world champion and world record holder, stunned the spectators Thursday when she ranked ninth in the 100m freestyle semifinals. She was later given a spot in the final only after Chinese swimmer Pang Jiaying was disqualified for a false start.

In a head-to-head final, Trickett was beaten by German swimmer, former world record holder Britta Steffen at the last moment by a fingertip gap of 0.04 seconds.

"Honestly, after the race (semifinal), I don't know what or how or why, but someone was looking after me. I've got the fantastic opportunity to swim the final. (I am) So thankful for that, because in Athens I never had another opportunity," Trickett said after the race.

Both Trickett and Jones won only one relay gold in Athens. Trickett didn't qualify for the 100m freestyle final in Athens Games.

A defeated Trickett congratulated Steffen in the pool even before the German swimmer realized she had won. And Jones also hugged Soni as soon as they finished the race.

Both insisted that they were very happy with the silver.

"Probably in the past, I would've looked at it as a loss, but now I am just so grateful for every performance. To get a silver medal at an Olympic is pretty good. To continuously be at the same level for three Olympics is a quite difficult job. I am so proud that I've stayed consistent. I haven't gone completely up and down and I've stayed the same the whole way," Jones said.

"I'm human. I make mistakes. I do things wrong. But I gave it my best," said Trickett.

Source:Xinhua

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