The men’s 100 meter backstroke is an event the United States has traditionally dominated, and entering Monday’s final Americans had won gold in each of the five prior Olympic races. That streak was extended to six, as Ryan Murphy took the gold medal with a time of 51.97 seconds. Murphy was one of two Americans to medal in the race, with David Plummer taking the bronze.
Also of note, Murphy’s time established a new Olympic record in the event. With his bronze medal Plummer (30 years, 304 days) becomes the oldest medalist in the history of the event, surpassing 1908 bronze medalist Bert Haresnape (28 years, 15 days).
WATCH: King continues American dominance in 100 backstroke
China’s Xu Jiayu took the silver with a time of 52.31, thus ending a streak of two straight Olympic finals in the event in which the United States finished 1-2. Not only is Xu China’s first-ever medalist in the event, but he was also the second Chinese man to ever qualify for the final (Cheng Feiyi, London).
The United States has won at least two medals in the 100 back 12 times since it was first run in 1912. Finishing fourth in the event was Australia’s Mitch Larkin, the reigning world champion in the 100 meter backstroke.
Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.
Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.
Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.
Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.
He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.
“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.
Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.
Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.
Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.
“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”
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