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  Friday, 27 July, 2001, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Thorpe swims into history
Ian Thorpe confirmed his status as the world's best
Ian Thorpe confirmed his status as the world's best
Australian superstar Ian Thorpe collected a record-equalling fifth gold medal in typically awesome style at the World Swimming Championship on Friday.

Thorpe produced a stunning anchor leg as the Australian 4x200m freestyle team shattered their own world record.

The four - Grant Hackett, Michael Klim, Bill Kirby and Thorpe - sliced 2.39 seconds off their previous mark, set at the Sydney Olympic games, as they flew home in 7:04.66.

It was the fourth world record of the games for Thorpe and his fifth gold, equalling the best-ever individual haul at the world championship by American Jim Montgomery in 1973 and Tracy Caulkins in 1978.

Thorpe is poised to break the record gold medal tally
Thorpe is poised to break the record gold medal tally

The day had started poorly for Thorpe, as he was beaten into fourth place in the men's 100m freestyle by America's Anthony Ervin.

The Australian, swimming over his weakest distance, was blown away by sprint specialist Ervin.

Ervin, already the 50m champion, beat Pieter van den Hoogenband into second to claim his second gold of the championship.

"I knew my only chance to getting a medal was to just go out and swim like crazy," said Ervin.

In yet another race marred by timing problems, the flying Dutchman Van den Hoogenband was intially marked down as the winner.


When I finished the race I thought I had got the gold medal
Silver medallist
Pieter van den Hoogenband
But joint 50m Olympic champion Ervin was finally given the verdict in a championship record 48.43 secs, 0.1 of a second quicker than van den Hoogenband.

The scoreboard appeared to malfunction immediately after the race ended, leaving the issue in doubt for several minutes.

When Ervin touched in lane two, no time immediately came up on the clock.

"When I finished the race I thought I had got the gold medal," said Van den Hoogenband.

"But a few minutes later I realized that I won the silver medal instead and that disappointed me."

Sweden's Lars Frolander touched out Thorpe for third place.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Bob Ballard
"Thorpe anchored the Australians 4 x 200 freestyle relay team to a new world record"

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Golden girls
Is swimming victory tarnished by chaos?

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