Source: Xinhua

08-12-2008 11:05

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Australian swimmer Leisel Jones won the 100-meter breaststroke here Tuesday, putting the long-awaited Olympic gold into her pocket.

Leisel Jones of Austrlia reacts after the final of women's 100m breaststroke at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 12, 2008. Leisel Jones set a new Olympic record with 1 minute 5.17 seconds and won the gold medal. (Xinhua/Fan Jun)
Leisel Jones of Austrlia reacts after the final of women's 100m 
breaststroke at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National 
Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, 
Aug. 12, 2008. Leisel Jones set a new Olympic record with 1 minute 
5.17 seconds and won the gold medal. (Xinhua/Fan Jun)

    Jones led the race to the finish and touched the wall in one minutes 5.17 seconds, only 0.08 seconds off her own world record.

    Jones said she was "relieved" after winning the gold. "It's been a long journey. (I feel) A lot of relief. I get everything I possibly could."

    Having made her name in 2000 Sydney Games, Jones was the top favorite in the women's 100 meters and 200 meters breaststroke in the Athens.

    However, after setting an Olympic record in the semifinals, she succumbed to nerves in the final, settling for a bronze in the 100 meters. She won a silver in the 200 breaststroke.

    Coming to Beijing, Jones said that the Athens experience has made her "a much stronger person and much stronger athlete." With three golds in the 2007 World Championships and two word records, She was seen top favorite in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.

    Narrowly missing her own world record in Tuesday's race, Jones said she didn't care about the time. "Olympic gold is an Olympic gold. It didn't matter how you win and how you race. I couldn't care it (time)." 

    U.S. swimmer Rebecca Soni was second after Jones. Rebecca got the chance to race in the 100m breaststroke only several days before the Beijing Olympics when Jessica Hardy withdrew from the Olympics following a positive test of banned substance.

    Soni, who apparently hasn't sunken into the joy yet, said her teammates' sensational win in Monday's men's 4X100 freestyle relay helped her go faster. "Maybe it was yesterday's relay that inspired us all. Who knows? It definitely worked for me."

    Austria's Jukic Mirna, who was happy with a bronze in 1:07.34, paid her tribute to her family.

    "My father is my best coach. My whole family and my friends are all supporting me. At home, my family woke up at 4am to watch my training, and I did well today."

    The Austrian said winning a medal is a "victory and a reward" to her. "I have prepared in Spain for about one year. Finally I can take a rest from now on."

    Chinese Olympic debutante Sun Ye finished seventh in 1:08.08, slower than her time in the semifinals. "I was not as fast as I was in the heats and semifinals. But to me, this is a pretty good time. I hope this (the time) could take me into the relays so I could have more chance to race for my team."