Serbs protest Phelps victory, overruled

August 16th, 2008 - 1:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 16 (DPA) The Serbian swimming team Saturday lodged an official protest against the result of the men’s 100m butterfly, which American superstar Michael Phelps won by one hundredth of a second against Serbian Milorad Cavic. But the protest was turned down. Phelps, for whom it was the seventh gold medal of the Games, won in a time of 50.58 secs, while Cavic was timed at 50.59.

The executive director of the sport’s governing body FINA Cornel Marculescu confirmed afterwards that the Serbian team had lodged an official written protest within the stipulated 30 minutes after the race.

“This was turned down and written reasons were given to the Serbian team. We also allowed them to look at the video footage of the swim.

“Although this is normally not permitted, we decided to do it to be transparent and to show that we have nothing to hide. The Serbians looked at it and were happy.”

Marculescu said that the Serbians could have appealed to the jury of appeal, but had not done so.

He added that Phelps was the greatest swimmer of all time. “He was going to win this race anyway. The only question was whether he was going to share the gold medal or get it on his own,” he said.

Phelps said that he had not been aware of the protest. “This is the first I hear of it.

“The timing system says it all. There has not really been an error in the timing system that I’ve heard of. I swam my best and as hard as I could.

“And I guess the board says I touched first.”

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