So my buddy Mel Stewart sent me an email tonight — he said that Jason Lezak retired.
Mel’s email: “Lezak anchored the 4×100 relay in Beijing …”
OHHHHH. Jason Lezak. The name might only sound vaguely familiar, but the race … unforgettable. It remains one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, one of the most amazing things any one of us has ever seen. You didn’t have to be a swim fan. You didn’t have to know anything about swimming. You didn’t even have to be a sports fan. This was Beijing, when Michael Phelps was trying for eight gold medals, Lezak was indeed anchoring his 4×100 relay.
And France was basically a full body length ahead of the U.S. when Lezak hit the water. This was daunting enough. But it just so happened that the Frenchman who was a full body length ahead was Alain Bernard, who happened to be the world record holder in the 100-meter freestyle. So, basically, the race was over.
Only … it wasn’t over at all. It was, instead, just beginning.
Watch the whole amazing thing … or fast forward to about 3:00 and watch the optical illusion and listen as disbelieving announcers come to understand just what they are seeing.
You can read a lot more about Lezak’s retirement on Mel’s fabulous swim site, SwimSwam.