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British Adlington beats U.S. Hoff in women's 400 freestyle
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11:27, August 11, 2008


Rebecca Adlington (L) of Great Britain celebrates after the final of women's 400m freestyle at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 11, 2008. Rebecca Adlington won the gold with 4 minutes 3.22 seconds. (Xinhua/Wang Dingchang)



Rebecca Adlington (L) of Great Britain celebrates with teammate, bronze medalist Joanne Jackson after the final of women's 400m freestyle at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 11, 2008. Rebecca Adlington won the gold with 4 minutes 3.22 seconds. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)



Rebecca Adlington (L) of Great Britain celebrates with teammate, bronze medalist Joanne Jackson after the final of women's 400m freestyle at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 11, 2008. Rebecca Adlington won the gold with 4 minutes 3.22 seconds. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)



Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain reacts after the final of women's 400m freestyle at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 11, 2008. Rebecca Adlington won the gold with 4 minutes 3.22 seconds. (Xinhua/Fei Maohua)


The gold quest of U.S. swimmer Katie Hoff in Beijing met another setback Monday morning as Britain's Rebecca Adlington touched the wall first at the last moment, snatching the gold of women's 400-meter freestyle.

With a solid start, Hoff managed to pull away from the field after the 200-meter turn. Adlington caught up and the two swam stroke by stroke in the last 50 meters. Amid thundering roars of the spectators, Adlington touched the wall first in 4:03.22, only 0.07 seconds ahead of Hoff.

"I couldn't really see the rest of the pool, all I could see was Katie USA," a happy Adlington said after the race.

Adlington's teammate Joanne Jackson won bronze in 4:03.52. "We were both so happy. Two British girls on the podium, what more could you ask for?" Adlington said.

Hot favorite Hoff seemed a little bit disappointed with a silver. "I felt like I should have got my hand on the wall first. I gave it everything I had possibly, but they got me on the end."

Hoff was widely expected to sweep golds in the Beijing Games as her "pseudo big brother" Michael Phelps would do. Four years ago, 15-year-old Hoff made her Olympic debut and was too unnerved to perform normally and went back home empty handed. She has said that her Athens experiences have prepared well for the Beijing Games.

Dispite diappointment, Hoff said she had no regrets. "I would have loved to have touched first, but there was nothing much more I could do. It was a good race out there, and the silver medal is one step up from bronze." Hoff won a bronze in Sunday's women's 400 individual medley.

Reigning world champion Italy's Federica Pellegrini ended up fifth. Pellegrini broke the Olympic record in Sunday's heats and entered the final as the fastest. She blamed the change of schedule for her failure.

"I didn't know what happened. I just couldn't get myself into shape. We Italians haven't got used to the competition in the morning. We never practised that. But whatever, we will continually do our best."

Swimming finals were traditionally held at night. In the Beijing Games, the finals were moved to the morning by the IOC as requested by major TV broadcasters.

Athens Olympic champion Laure Manaudou finished last.  

Source:Xinhua

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