France's Agnel wins gold again in Olympic pool

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 30, 2012
In two days, Yannick Agnel pushed ahead of the top American swimmers in a come-from-behind anchor leg of a relay race, then routed a stellar field all by himself - earning a second gold medal and a handshake from the president of France. Not bad for a 20-year-old at his first Olympics. Agnel led the 200 freestyle from start to finish Monday and clocked 1 minute, 43.14 seconds for the best time ever in a textile suit - a whopping 0.72 ahead of Michael Phelps' 2007 mark. ''I had to look twice at the scoreboard to be sure it was the right time. I had a race plan in my head, but this is above my expectations and hopes,'' Agnel said. ''I worked on keeping my speed and putting all my guts into the last 50. I don't know what to say - it worked.'' French President Francois Hollande, who was on hand for the race, put it more simply: ''Remarkable - two gold medals two nights in a row.'' Hollande pushed his way past reporters to congratulate Agnel. ''It's a big reward for French swimming, a proud moment for him and encouraging for the whole Olympic team,'' Hollande said. Defending silver medalist Park Tae-hwan of South Korea and 400 free champion Sun Yang of China shared silver in 1:44.93, while world champion Ryan Lochte finished fourth and world-record holder Paul Biedermann of Germany was fifth. With so many standouts, and despite Phelps' decision not to enter, the event was dubbed the ''Race of the Century.'' On Sunday, Agnel anchored the French victory in the 4x100 freestyle relay, using his 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) frame to push ahead of Lochte and the Americans. ''He's a great racer, there's no doubt about it,'' Lochte said. ''He's quick and he showed it last night and tonight.'' He shot to prominence at the senior level two years ago with his victory in the 400 free at the 2010 European Championships in Budapest, although he struggled at last year's worlds in Shanghai with a fifth-place result in the 200. Agnel won eight golds at the 2009 and 2010 European junior championships and he is competing in his first Olympics. Named after French tennis great Yannick Noah, Agnel played tennis before he discovered swimming at the age of 8 in his neighbor's pool in the southern town of Nimes. His parents split when he was 11 and Agnel met his coach Fabrice Pellerin after moving to Nice. ''My parents' divorce was really a tough blow,'' said the shy swimmer. ''But it helped me to grow up, to become more responsible and to be stronger mentally.'' On Sunday, Camille Muffat gave France another gold in the women's 400 free, and the country stands second to the United States in the swimming medals table. It's been a pleasant surprise for a team undergoing a generational change, with defending 100 free champion Alain Bernard qualifying only for a morning heat in the relay and Fred Bousquet, another sprinting standout, failing to make the team altogether. Agnel's next event comes Tuesday morning with the 100 free heats. He's also swimming the 4x200 free relay and the 4x100 medley relay. ''That's going to be complicated,'' Agnel said of the 100. The favorites for the 100 are James ''The Missile'' Magnussen and James ''The Rocket'' Roberts of Australia plus Cesar Cielo of Brazil, but at this point nobody's counting out Agnel for the sport's signature event. ''As they say in English, 'It's giving me positive vibes,''' Agnel said. ''We're on track. We'll approach it without pressure, and with a lot of pleasure and fun, which we've been doing since the start of the week.'' --- AP Sports Writer Samuel Petrequin contributed to this report.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst - NFL Week 3: Steve Smith, Odell Beckham & of course the Browns
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Doug Baldwin now victim of death threats after his comments on police

Report claims Jimmy Garoppolo is the Patriots starter for for Sunday

Sixers rookie Ben Simmons has fracture in foot

Olympic wrestler turned ISIS recruit killed in U.S. drone strike

Report: Jamaal Charles to play Sunday against Steelers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dez Bryant says he will not play Sunday against 49ers

Bill O’Brien officially rules J.J. Watt out for season

Report: Eric Decker out Sunday with partial tear in rotator cuff

Report: Browns planning to part ways with Josh Gordon

Noah skips dinner at West Point because he's anti-war

Giants could use wide receiver at safety against Vikings

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

Box Score: 9/30 - Dolphins, Popovich and MLB umps

Seven most absurd stats heading into NFL Week 4

Antonio Brown to honor Arnold Palmer with custom cleats

The best and worst from the 2016 World Cup of Hockey

Players Jurgen Klinsmann may call up for USMNT friendlies

Byron Scott has no relationship with D’Angelo Russell

Steve Kerr favors shorter NBA preseason to limit back-to-backs

Flaws of MLB replay system exposed in Cardinals’ victory

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Is it time for the Jaguars to fire Gus Bradley?

Combing through the crowded 2016 MLB MVP races

The Blue Jays and the meaning of a late season freefall

NFL Kickoff Week 4: Guess what? The NFL is dying again

Goodbye, Ted: 20 years of highs and lows at Turner Field

CFB Crash Course: Week 5 - Less one Les

NBA winners and losers: Gregg Popovich as a voice of reason

The clubhouse leaders for MLB Rookies of the Year

Forza Horizon 3 review: Going Top Gear

WATCH: Will LSU have to sell its soul to find its next head coach?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker