Hackett takes banned Thorpe's crown - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hackett takes banned Thorpe's crown

By Janelle Miles and Tom Wald 27/03/2004 10:44:34 PM Comments (0)

Ian Thorpe watched from the stands at the Olympic swimming trials as Grant Hackett surfaced as the new 400m freestyle gold medal favourite for the Athens Games.

Thorpe, the reigning Olympic 400m freestyle champion and world recordholder, was sensationally disqualified in his opening heat swim at the Sydney trials after he overbalanced on the blocks and fell into the water, costing him an almost certain gold medal in Greece.

But you wouldn't have known it watching the 21-year-old laughing and joking with club mates in the stands at the Sydney International Aquatic Centre.

He made a point of congratulating Hackett after his friend and rival won his way onto the Athens team in three minutes:43.35 seconds.

Thorpe is the only swimmer in history who has been capable of swimming faster than Hackett.

Canberra-based Craig Stevens won the second Olympic berth in 3:48.08 - exactly eight seconds slower than Thorpe's world record.

But Stevens was far from rejoicing after making his first Olympic team.

"I've had the worst day," said the 23-year-old former training partner of Thorpe's.

"I have been non-stop thinking about what happened. I have a massive headache. I couldn't sleep at all.

"You don't wish those things on your worst enemy, let alone someone you used to train with."

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