Being in the right place at the right time to just by chance
benefit from someone else’s success
For the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, Jason Lezak and Michael Phelps were teammates on the 4×100 freestyle relay swim team. Lezak, the oldest man on the team, swam the anchor leg.
The French relay team included Alain Bernard, who at the time held the world record in the 100-meter freestyle.
When Lezak started his leg, he was a body length behind Bernard. In the last 25 meters (half the length of the pool), Lezak passed Bernard to win, making the fastest 100-meter freestyle split ever. (“A split is the exact second that divides one lap from another. Split time is the amount of time that adds up between two splits.”) Lezak won with his last stroke.
Jason Lezak described his success in that race as “…one of the greatest moments of my career.” Swim writer Braden Keith described Lezak’s 2008 anchor leg as “…one of the top 3 moments in swimming history…” Because of Lezak’s straightforward success, the U.S. team set a world record and Michael Phelps went home with eight gold medals instead of seven. Jason Lezak’s success allowed the more famous Michael Phelps to break the seven gold medal record Mark Spitz had held since the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
Jason Lezak’s fingertip touch after the fastest 100-meter freestyle split ever
put Michael Phelps in the right place at the right time
to serendipitously win an 8th gold medal.
“How to Calculate Split Times in Swimming”
“Jason Lezak Decides To Retire at 37; Will Be Remembered For “The Anchor”
January 15, 2013
“Teammate’s Fingertip Touch Gives Phelps’s Bid a Big Hand”
The New York Times
August 10, 2008
Paula M. Kramer
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