Stunning Popovici (ROU): 100m freestyle gold and world record
Summer 2009, a hot Roman summer with the World Aquatics Championships at the Foro Italico on: in the men's 100m freestyle, Brazil's César Cielo Filho won the gold medal and, from lane number 5, he clocked 46.91 that earned him a world record.
Never before had anyone broken the 47-second wall. Actually, in April 2009, Frenchman Alain Bernard swam in 46.94 at the French championships being the first man to go under 47 seconds, but the FINA didn't homologate the time, considering the swimsuit to be non-standard.
The record, therefore, was Cielo's one, at least until this evening when, at the European Championships in Rome, Romania's 17-year-old David Popovici, 18 in September, grabbed the gold medal with a world record of 46.86. As a sign of fate, Popovici's record came in the same pool where, 13 years ago, Cielo took over the world. From today, however, on the freestyle throne sits David, the 'little boy' who loves magic, philosophy and milk with honey.
Popovici said:"Yesterday I said that the European record was just one step in the right direction – and I was right. There was no rush and I had to be extremely patient about the world record. I’m still hot from the race, but these championships are not over yet, nor this very long season. It has hurt but it’s always worth it and I feel fine right now. It felt great and it’s very special to break this record which was set here in 2009 by Cesar Cielo.”