Former Newport Harbor High swimming standout Aaron Peirsol had a
rollercoaster of a day Thursday at the Olympic Games in Athens,
Greece, winning gold in the men's 200-meter backstroke, then being
disqualified, and finally being reinstated as the winner.
Peirsol was getting ready to conduct interviews after he beat
Markus Rogan of Austria by more than two seconds when he found out he
had been disqualified for violating rule 6.4 for propelling himself
while on his stomach going into his last turn.
The U.S. filed a protest and, 20 minutes later, FINA, the
international swimming governing body, overturned the
disqualification, giving the gold back the former Sailor.
Peirsol's victory was also noteworthy since his time of 1 minute,
54.95 seconds broke the Olympic record of 1:55.14 he set the night
before in the semifinals. The current world record holder in the 200
back, Peirsol won a silver medal in the event in the 2000 Sydney
Rogan (1:57.35) earned the silver and Romania's Razvan Florea
(1:57.56) claimed bronze. Great Britain's James Goddard (1:57.76) was
denied a spot on the podium following Peirsol's reinstatement.
Peirsol also became the fifth swimmer in Olympic history to grab
the gold in the 100 and 200 back at the same Olympics. Peirsol joins
Americans Lenny Krazelburg (2000 in Sydney), Rick Carey (1984 in Los
Angeles), John Naber (1976 in Montreal) and East German Roland
Matthes (1968 in Mexico City and 1972 in Munich).
Peirsol will try for his third gold medal of these Games as a
member of the 400 medley relay team that swam its preliminary race
earlier this morning. The finals will take place Saturday at 10:30
a.m. Pacific time.
* In other Olympic action:
Former Corona del Mar High tennis star Taylor Dent advanced to the
semifinals of the men's tournament by defeating Tomas Berdych from
the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-1, Thursday. Dent, ranked No. 59 in the
Association of Tennis Professionals, will face Nicolas Massu of Chile
today at 7 a.m. Massu, ranked No. 27 in the world, beat Spain's
Carlos Moya, 6-2, 7-5, to advance.
The other semifinal match will also involve an American and a
gold medal match is scheduled for Sunday at 7 a.m.
Dent's cousin and former Newport Harbor High sensation Misty May
teamed with Kerri Walsh to complete an unbeaten record in beach
volleyball pool play.
May and Walsh beat the Czech Republic's Eva Celbova and Sona
Novakova, 21-17, 21-17, Thursday. May-Walsh, who were named the
Association of Volleyball Professionals Team of the Year in 2003,
will face Jia Tian and Fei Wang from China Saturday at 10 a.m. in the
round of 16.
UC Irvine product Lanee Butler-Beashel placed 17th in her women's
windsurfing race Thursday. The effort gave Butler-Beashel, a two-time
Pan American Games gold medal winner, 73 points after five legs with
six remaining. She dropped two spots in the overall standings to 18th
place. Faustine Merret of France is currently in first with nine
Fellow windsurfer and former Anteater Peter Wells improved his
overall standing one position to 24th, finishing 16th in Thursday's
men's race. Wells has 81 points after four races. Brazil's Ricardo
Santos leads the men with 13 points.
The U.S. men's water polo team (2-1), featuring five former UCI
players, lost, 7-5, to gold medal favorite Hungary (3-0) Thursday.
UCI product Ryan Bailey gave Team USA a 1-0 lead with 3:12 remaining
in the first quarter. Former Anteater Jeff Powers had two shots on
goal, Dan Klatt had a shot on goal, and Omar Amr won the only sprint
he swam. Goaltender Genai Kerr has not played in any of the three
U.S. matches. The U.S. faces Russia (2-1) Saturday at 2:15 p.m.
Orange Coast College student and Newport Beach resident Jennifer
Parilla will compete in trampoline gymnastics today. The event is
scheduled to be televised on NBC4 at 8 p.m.