Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Men's 50 metre freestyle

The men's 50 metre freestyle event at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place on 14–16 August at the Beijing National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China.[1]

Men's 50 metre freestyle
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
The medal ceremony of the 50m final.
VenueBeijing National Aquatics Center
DatesAugust 14, 2008 (heats)
August 15, 2008 (semifinals)
August 16, 2008 (final)
Competitors97 from 90 nations
Winning time21.30 OR
César Cielo  Brazil
Amaury Leveaux  France
Alain Bernard  France

César Cielo made an Olympic milestone to become Brazil's first ever gold medalist in swimming. He rocketed to an unexpected triumph in a new Olympic record of 21.30, then the second-fastest in history, powering past the field by 0.15 of a second, a sizable chunk in Olympic swimming's shortest race.[2][3] The French tandem of Amaury Leveaux and Alain Bernard took home the silver and bronze with respective times of 21.45 and 21.49.[4]

Australia's Ashley Callus finished fourth in 21.62, while his teammate and world record holder Eamon Sullivan was a fraction behind the leading pack in sixth at 21.65.[5] For the first time in Olympic history, no American swimmer had reached the podium in the event, as the reigning world champion Ben Wildman-Tobriner, swimming on the outside in lane eight, pulled off a fifth-place effort in 21.64.[6] Competing at their third Olympics, South Africa's Roland Mark Schoeman (21.67) and Sweden's Stefan Nystrand (21.72) rounded out the finale in seventh and eighth place, respectively.[4]

Earlier in the prelims, Cielo posted a time of 21.47 to erase Alexander Popov's 1992 Olympic record by 0.44 of a second. One heat later, Leveaux established the same record by winning the twelfth heat in 21.46.[7] The following morning, in the semifinals, Cielo lowered again an Olympic record to 21.34 that had been set by Leveaux in the preliminaries under 0.12 seconds.[8]


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.

World record Eamon Sullivan (AUS)21.28Sydney, Australia28 March 2008
Olympic record Alexander Popov (EUN)21.91Barcelona, Spain30 July 1992

The following Olympic records were set during this competition.

14 AugustHeat 11César Cielo Brazil21.47OR
14 AugustHeat 12Amaury Leveaux France21.46OR
15 AugustSemifinal 2César Cielo Brazil21.34OR
16 AugustFinalCésar Cielo Brazil21.30OR



1124Amaury Leveaux France21.46Q, OR
2115César Cielo Brazil21.47Q, OR, =AM
3123Stefan Nystrand Sweden21.75Q
125Ben Wildman-Tobriner United StatesQ
5133Roland Mark Schoeman South Africa21.76Q
6111George Bovell Trinidad and Tobago21.77Q
7135Alain Bernard France21.78Q
8134Eamon Sullivan Australia21.79Q
9114Garrett Weber-Gale United States21.95Q
10127Rafed El-Masri Germany21.96Q
11117Nicholas Santos Brazil22.00Q
12113Duje Draganja Croatia22.05Q
13132Ashley Callus Australia22.11Q
14126Krisztián Takács Hungary22.14Q
15116Bartosz Kizierowski Poland22.15Q
16122Gideon Louw South Africa22.17Q
17121Andrey Grechin Russia22.20
18104Jernej Godec Slovenia22.21
1984Flori Lang Switzerland22.27
2091David Dunford Kenya22.29
21131Yevgeny Lagunov Russia22.30
22112Javier Noriega Spain22.33
23136Mark Foster Great Britain22.35
138Salim Iles Algeria
2596Miko Mälberg Estonia22.37NR
26105Apostolos Tsagkarakis Greece22.39
27106Richard Hortness Canada22.42
28107Yoris Grandjean Belgium22.45
29101Matti Rajakylä Finland22.48
3093Cai Li China22.50
97Alessandro Calvi Italy
32103Robert Lijesen Netherlands22.51
33102Jakob Andkjær Denmark22.52
3488Jacinto de Jesus Ayala Benjamin Dominican Republic22.57
35108José Meolans Argentina22.58
3692Andrei Radzionau Belarus22.65NR
37118Kaan Tayla Turkey22.66
38137Steffen Deibler Germany22.67
3998Daniel Coakley Philippines22.69
4095Virdhawal Khade India22.73
4174Oliver Elliot Chile22.75NR
4283Yuriy Yegoshin Ukraine22.77
4372Norbert Trandafir Romania22.80
4478Árni Már Árnason Iceland22.81NR
4575Jevon Atkinson Jamaica22.83NR
81Mohammad Madwa Kuwait
4786Jonathan Javier Camacho Riera Venezuela22.87
4876Stanislav Kuzmin Kazakhstan22.91
4994Camilo Becerra Colombia22.93
5085Francisco Picasso Uruguay23.01
5173Martyn Forde Barbados23.08
5282Elvis Burrows Bahamas23.19
5371Joshua Laban Virgin Islands23.28
54128Mohamed El Nady Egypt23.92
5564Yellow Yeiyah Nigeria24.00
5677Vitaly Vasilyev Kyrgyzstan24.02
5765Rodion Davelaar Netherlands Antilles24.21
5887Rolandas Gimbutis Lithuania24.36
5966Anas Hamadeh Jordan24.40
6062Luke Hall Swaziland24.41
6157Alain Brigion Tobe Cameroon24.53
6214Alois Dansou Benin24.54
6355Sidni Hoxha Albania24.56
6415Omar Jasim Bahrain24.65
6554Zane Jordan Zambia24.82
6661Daniel Lee Sri Lanka24.92
6767Chakyl Camal Mozambique24.93NR
6853Andrey Molchanov Turkmenistan25.02
6968Niall Roberts Guyana25.13
7056Kerson Hadley Federated States of Micronesia25.34
7144Stewart Glenister American Samoa25.45
7251John Kamyuka Botswana25.54
7343Hamse Abdouh Palestine25.60
7452Adil Baig Pakistan25.66
7513Omar Nunez Nicaragua26.00
7658Kouassi Brou Ivory Coast26.08
7745Kyaw Zin Myanmar26.17
7846Tural Abbasov Azerbaijan26.31
7941Hemthon Ponloeu Cambodia27.39
8035Charlton Nyirenda Malawi27.46
8147Prasiddha Jung Shah Nepal27.59
8248Gilbert Kaburu Uganda27.72
8333Jackson Niyomugabo Rwanda27.74
8437Khalid Rushaka Tanzania28.50
8536Dwayne Didon Seychelles28.95
8638Mohamed Coulibaly Mali29.09
8731Alisher Chingizov Tajikistan29.10
8832Ibrahim Shameel Maldives29.28
8934Mamadou Cisse Guinea29.29
9023Thepphithak Chindavong Laos29.31
9163Mohamed Attoumane Comoros29.63
9226Rene Jacob Yougbara Burkina Faso30.08
9342Ahmed Adam Sudan30.12
9424Abdulsalam Al Gadabi Yemen30.63NR
9525Mohamed Alhousseini Alhassan Niger30.90
9622Kareem Valentine Antigua and Barbuda31.23
9727Stany Kempompo Ngangola Democratic Republic of the Congo35.19


Semifinal 1

1 4 César Cielo Filho  Brazil 21.34 Q, OR, AM
25Stefan Nystrand Sweden21.71Q
3 6 Eamon Sullivan  Australia 21.75 Q
4 1 Krisztián Takács  Hungary 21.84
5 7 Duje Draganja  Croatia 21.85
6 3 George Bovell  Trinidad and Tobago 21.86
7 8 Gideon Louw  South Africa 21.97
8 2 Rafed El-Masri  Germany 22.09

Semifinal 2

1 6 Alain Bernard  France 21.54 Q
2 1 Ashley Callus  Australia 21.68 Q
3 3 Roland Mark Schoeman  South Africa 21.74 Q
4 4 Amaury Leveaux  France 21.76 Q
5 Ben Wildman-Tobriner  United States Q
6 2 Garrett Weber-Gale  United States 22.08
7 8 Bartosz Kizierowski  Poland 22.12
8 7 Nicholas Santos  Brazil 22.15


4César Cielo Filho Brazil21.30OR, AM
1Amaury Leveaux France21.45
5Alain Bernard France21.49
43Ashley Callus Australia21.62
58Ben Wildman-Tobriner United States21.64
67Eamon Sullivan Australia21.65
72Roland Mark Schoeman South Africa21.67AF
86Stefan Nystrand Sweden21.72


  1. "Olympic Swimming Schedule". USA Today. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  2. "'Big Cesar' races to first Brazilian swim gold". ESPN. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  3. "Cielo hands Brazil's first swimming gold". South China Morning Post. 16 August 2008. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  4. Lohn, John (16 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Cesar Cielo Claims 50 Free Gold in Olympic Record Time". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  5. "Cielo Filho takes 50m gold". ABC News. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  6. Crumpacker, John (16 August 2008). "Wildman-Tobriner is 5th in the 50". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  7. Lohn, John (14 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Olympic Standard Falls Twice in Men's 50 Free Prelims". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  8. Lohn, John (14 August 2008). "Olympics, Swimming: Cesar Cielo Drops Olympic Record in 50 Free Semis". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
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