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Local Olympians: Hart graduate Anthony Ervin finishes fifth in 50-meter final

Slow start costs the Hart graduate

Posted: August 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 3, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Hart graduate Anthony Ervin swims in the 50-meter freestyle final today in London.

Hart graduate Anthony Ervin got off to a poor start in the 50-meter freestyle and finished fifth with a 21.78 in the event final on Friday in London.

Florent Manaudou — younger brother of 2004 gold medalist Laure Manaudou — shocked defending Olympic champion and world-record holder Cesar Cielo of Brazil in the 50 freestyle.

Manaudou touched in 21.34 and pounded the water out in Lane 7, then got a big hug from his sister as soon as he climbed from the pool. Cullen Jones of the United States took silver in 21.54, while Cielo was left with bronze in 21.59.

Ervin was slow off the block and trailed throughout in the sprint event, which consists of just one trip down the pool.

Ervin seemed flustered by a slight delay in the start because of a woman yelling in the stands. He was slowest off the blocks — a crucial miscue in the one-lap dash — and never caught up. He was timed in 21.78, leaving him 0.19 behind Cielo for a spot on the podium.

Still, it's been quite a journey for the eclectic swimmer, who shared the 50 free title with Gary Hall Jr. at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, won a world title the following year, then stunningly walked away from the sport at age 22. Ervin was gone for eight years, selling off his gold medal to aid victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, playing in a band, finishing college and never staying in one place for too long.

Just one year after coming back, the 31-year-old nearly got another Olympic medal.

"Being here is my own form of redemption," he said. "What's next? I'm going to have a nice dinner with my friends and family, people I really care about. Without them, this could not have happened."






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