SYDNEY, Australia – Americans Anthony Ervin and Gary Hall Jr. shared Olympic gold in the 50-meter freestyle Friday, tying in 21.98 seconds.
Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands took bronze.
“I don’t mind sharing the gold medal podium,” Hall said. “It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, a guy I practice with all the time. It was like another day of practice.”
Ervin represents the 13th time a Cal men’s swimmer has won an Olympic gold medal, and he is in an elite group of Bears to win an individual gold. The list includes Bengt Baron, who won a gold medal in the 100-meter back in the 1980 Olympics, Par Arvidsson, who won the gold in the 100-meter butterfly in 1980, and Matt Biondi, who won the gold medal in 1988 in the 50 and 100-meter free.
Ervin and Hall are training partners in Arizona. Ervin, who at 19 was the youngest swimmer in the eight-man final, is the first swimmer of black heritage to make a U.S. Olympic team.
The Americans shared a joyous hug and Ervin leaned over to tell Hall, “It couldn’t have ended up any better.”
“The 50 was my place to shine,” Ervin said. “Thankfully, I did.”
“We had a tie for the gold medal in the Olympics,” Ervin said. “That makes us the best in the world in no uncertain terms.”