Dream is over for Phelps

Disqualification in relay ends swimmer's chance to win eight golds

April 01, 2007|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,Sun Reporter

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -- It's almost difficult to believe, but after winning six gold medals in six days, as well as setting four world records, Michael Phelps had one final day of hurdles left at the FINA World Championships. And then bad luck, and one one-hundredth of a second on a relay exchange, derailed his chance at history.

Phelps did his part, qualifying for the 400-meter individual medley final, his last individual event of the meet. But the Americans' 400-meter medley relay team, like a cruel April Fool's joke, got disqualified in the preliminaries when butterfly specialist Ian Crocker left the blocks early, .04 of a second before breaststroker Scott Usher touched the wall.

Swimming rules allow an early exchange if the difference is .03 of a second or less, meaning the U.S. team was disqualified by .01 of a second.

More coverage Phelps' dominance at FINA World Championships destroys conventional wisdom about human limitations. Pg 1a

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