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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Thorpe lands 400m title
Ian Thorpe
Australia's Ian Thorpe defended his Olympic 400m freestyle title in devastating fashion in Athens.

The world record holder led from the start but held off a strong challenge from Grant Hackett in the final length.

Thorpe, 21, won in three minutes 43.10, with countryman Hackett 0.26 seconds back and American Klete Keller third.

He dedicated his win to team-mate Craig Stevens who stepped down so he could race, saying: "I had this opportunity because one of my best friends."

Thorpe added: "It's a real relief and release off my shoulders. It's much harder to defend than win the title for the first time."

Thorpe came into the Olympics with the eight fastest times in history, including the world record of 3:40.08 at the Commonwealth Games two years ago.

But he almost missed the event when he was disqualified at the Australian trials for tumbling off the blocks before the gun had sounded.

He was only allowed back in after his team-mate Craig Stevens surrendered his spot.





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Swimming: Stars to watch
09 May 04  |  Swimming



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