Photo: Cesar Cielo
Brazil’s Cesar Cielo was unable to defend his Olympic title in the 50-meter freestyle, settling for bronze behind surprise winner Florent Manaudou of France and American Cullen Jones in Friday’s final.
The Frenchman, younger brother of Laure Manaudou, the 2004 Olympic champion in the women’s 400-meter freestyle, touched the wall first with a time of 21:34, while Jones clocked in at 21:54 and Cielo at 21:59.
Another Brazilian, Bruno Fratus, finished fourth with a time of 21:61.
Cielo, who also is the reigning world champion in that same event and still holds the world record time of 20:91, said afterward that he felt tired on his fourth consecutive day of competition and lacked explosiveness in the final.
“There are various factors in the 50 meters. Manaudou did the race of his life and his time was better than my best time this year,” the Brazilian said.
“It’s another Olympic medal for my career. I’m not going to lie. I could’ve swum better, but Manaudou deserved to win gold.”
Cielo fared better in the 50-meter final than he did in Wednesday’s 100-meter freestyle final, in which he finished sixth with a time of 47:92, four-tenths of a second behind gold medalist Nathan Adrian of the United States.
The Brazilian also holds the world record in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 46:91.
The 25-year-old from the southeastern town of Santa Barbara d’Oeste said he now plans to go on vacation following a year of non-stop training and will later start thinking about his next competition.
Cielo’s medal was Brazil’s sixth overall at the London Games and fourth bronze.
Judoka Sarah Menezes won the South American country’s lone gold medal at this year’s Olympics with her victory in the women’s 48-kilogram (extra lightweight) class.