American swimmer Anthony Ervin took gold in the 50 meter freestyle as a 19-year old at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, finishing tied with fellow American Gary Hall Jr. But after leaving the sport for eight years he returned to make the United States swim team in 2012, and Friday night he won his second Olympic gold in the 50 free.
Ervin finished the sprint in 21.40 seconds, beating the defending Olympic champion Florent Manaudou of France by one one-hundredth of a second. Two Americans won medals in the race, with Nathan Adrian taking bronze with a time of 21.49 seconds, and three American swimmers won gold medals Friday night.
Ervin joined Maya DiRado (women’s 200 back) and Katie Ledecky (women’s 800 free) as American gold medalists at the pool Friday night, and his win was the most surprising of the three. Now the oldest swimming gold medalist in Olympic history, Ervin now has to decide what to do with this gold medal after selling the first.
“I don’t know,” Ervin said again, this time louder, after qualifying for Thursday night’s 50m freestyle semifinals. “I’m living in the moment, man. I know nothing about what I’m going to do other than how I’m trying to set myself from what I just did to how I’m going to swim tonight.”