While the column inches on every other swimming event will be taken up by Michael Phelps and his quest to hit the heddy heights of Beijing in 2008. The shorter distance of the 50m freestyle is a chance for other swimmers to write themselves into history. The 50m men’s freestyle takes place on the 3rd of August in the London Aquatics Centre 20.09 (GMT).
Australia’s dominance of world swimming continues and although five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe failed to qualify this time round, James Magnussen at 21 years of age will be competing in his first Olympics and looking for gold in the 50m free.
James Magnussen of Australia
Magnussen shot to world fame when he won the 100m freestyle at the World Championships in 2011 at the age of 20. He will face Brazilian Césare Cielo who won the gold in the 50m at the Beijing Olympics and is the current world record holder in the 50m and the 100m. However Magnussen holds the fastest ever time in that event albeit in a textile suit.
Brazil's Césare Cielo
Speaking earlier this month Magnussen said he’s doing his best to keep his own council and let his swimming do the talking. "He is pretty vocal, but I guess having only raced him once at a big meet before, it's not really a rivalry that has come to a head too often. It is sort of hard to say what our relationship will be come London, but certainly it is not a grudge match at this point.” In other words, it’s a grudge match.
Australian James Roberts
It all points to a mouth watering rivalry with Cielo probably setting the pace early in the race and Magnussen, known as ‘The Missile’ because of his thundering finish looking to catch him in the closing stages. Also from Australia is another 21-year-old James Roberts who will also challenge, but whereas Cielo and Magnussen are arch-rivals, the two Australians are great friends and training partners.
By Hugo Mc Cafferty