August 14, 2008
Jason Lezak earns first individual medal
BEIJING (JTA)—Jewish Olympic swimmer Jason Lezak followed up his relay heroics with a bronze medal in the 100-meter men’s freestyle.
Lezak, whose late dash in the 4 x 100-meter men’s freestyle relay propelled the U.S. team to the gold medal and a world record, finished in a time of 47.67 seconds Wednesday at the Water Cube in Beijing. He trailed Alain Bernard of France at 47.21 seconds and Australian Eamon Sullivan at 47.32.
For Lezak, at 32 the oldest male swimmer to ever qualify for an Olympic team, it was his first individual medal in his third Olympic Games. He had won five relay medals, including three gold.
“That’s what’s been driving me the last four years since Athens,” Lezak said when asked how it feels to earn his first individual medal. “It definitely feels good.”
Lezak, of Irvine, Calif., had overtaken Bernard in Monday’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay. Bernard and Sullivan had exchanged the world record in the semifinals.