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Matt Biondi - The '88 Games

Famous Sports StarsSwimmingMatt Biondi Biography - Collegiate Champion, Olympic Pressures, The '88 Games, In And Out Of Retirement, Out Of The Pool

The 'Games (88 )

The 1988 Olympics started with a bump for Biondi, when he finished third in the 200-meter freestyle behind Anders Holmertz of Sweden and Duncan Armstrong of Australia. Biondi chafed at a news coverage depicting his performance as disappointing. "The press always throws stuff at you," he wrote in his Sports Illustrated diary. "Like tonight I heard (NBC commentator) Bob Costas say on TV, 'Matt Biondi isn't going to win his seven gold medals. Today he had to settle for bronze.' But I feel good about the bronze. My most difficult event is over and I still have a chance to walk away with seven medals. I think that would be a hell of a performance."

Two days later, Biondi won the silver medal in the 100 meter butterfly, one-hundredth of a second behind Anthony Nesty of Suriname. He also captured gold and helped set a world record time in the 4×200 freestyle relay. Four more gold medals followed—in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 4×100 freestyle relay, and the 4×100 medley relay. Biondi ended the Games with five gold medals, one silver, and one bronze and set or contributed to four world records. He defeated his friend and rival Tom Jager in the 50-meter freestyle for the first time in two years and broke Jager's record time in the event.

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