Rattled by ripped trunks, Hungary's Milak settles for Olympic swimming gold

Beats Phelps' Olympic record but misses out on 200m butterfly world record

Hungary's Kristof Milak kept his compose to win the men's Olympic 200 metres butterfly final on Wednesday despite his swimsuit ripping moments before the start.

Milak was knocked off his stride by the torn trunks but showed enough poise to claim the gold medal and beat American Michael Phelps's 13-year-old Olympic record in the process in a time of 1:51.25.

Despite his obvious delight, Milak couldn't hide his anger at having missed out on a world record due to the untimely wardrobe malfunction.

"They split 10 minutes before I entered the pool and in that moment I knew the world record was gone," Milak said after marching off the pool deck to collect his kit bag and pulling out the damaged trunks, which he switched for a spare set just before the final.

"I lost my focus and knew I couldn't do it."

The Hungarian turned third at the midway point but powered off the wall and opened up an insurmountable lead down the third length to finish four metres ahead of silver medallist Tomoru Honda of Japan, with Italian Federico Burdisso winning bronze.

Milak won't be keeping the defective swimwear as a souvenir of his Olympic victory.

"It was a problem for me. I have a routine, a rhythm, a focus. This broke my focus and that problem impacted my time," he told a news conference.

"I wasn't swimming for the medal. I was swimming for the time. I said earlier I wanted a personal best. And my personal best is a world record."

The gold was no surprise for Milak, 21, who has dominated the event and has the top four career times in the 200 butterfly, with the next three belonging to Phelps.

"It was impossible to win this race because Milak is Milak," said bronze medallist Burdisso, a comment that drew a shoulder shrug and confident smile from Milak.

Updated: July 28th 2021, 10:05 AM
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