One of the biggest shocks of the Commonwealth Games blew away Australian legend Ian Thorpe.
The men’s 100m breaststroke final at the Sandwell Aquatic Center in Birmingham on Monday morning turned into a shootout few saw coming.
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It was supposed to be a showdown between England’s Olympic goliath Adam Peaty and Australia’s Olympic 200m breaststroke gold medalist Zac Stubblety-Cook. But no one told the Englishman James Wilby.
Peaty, who advanced to the final fastest despite continuing to recover from a foot injury, was ahead with 25m to go but crumbled unbelievably in the final slot against the wall.
With Stubblety-Cook and fellow Aussie Sam Williamson exploding to death, Peaty suddenly went from gold medal position to missing out on the podium altogether.
The shock result was written on Wilby’s face when he realized he had won the gold medal.
Three-time Olympic champion Peaty isn’t used to losing – and Thorpe isn’t used to seeing him lose.
The world record holder was unbeaten in the 100m breaststroke in major competitions since 2014.
Members of the Channel 7 commentary team described the result as “breathtaking” and “one of the biggest upsets we have ever seen in swimming”.
“It’s shocking,” Thorpe told Seven.
A colleague of Seven said ‘I can’t believe it’ while caller Basil Zempilas added: ‘Oh my God…unbelievable that Peaty, who was leading halfway (mark), didn’t not finished in the top three.”
A BBC commentator also described Peaty’s disappearance as “astonishing”.
Wilby hit the wall in 59.25 seconds, just 0.27 seconds ahead of Stubblety-Cook. Peaty missed Williamson’s bronze by 0.04 seconds.
The crowd, who roared for Peaty as he made his way to the starting blocks, were stunned.
“As far as racing goes, sometimes it just doesn’t go as planned,” Peaty said.
“I was in pain in the 50m but you know it’s a lack of training, a lack of running.”
He added: “I can’t think about it too much. I’m a fighter and sometimes you have to have those moments to keep fighting.
The 27-year-old said the 2024 Paris Olympics are firmly on his radar.
“The next two years are going to be huge – how we attack this now, I don’t know,” Peaty said. “Because I haven’t done two winter boulders in a long time, so it’s back to the drawing board and back to training.”
Many who watched the race were in shock.
“James Wilby WHAT DID YOU DO!? Incredible swim from 200m silver to win 100m GOLD as Adam Peaty is fourth,” tweeted journalist Nick Hope.
Naveen Peter wrote: “HOLY MOLY!!! Adam Peaty (England) is not among the medalists in the men’s 100m breaststroke. When was the last time this happened? »
British sportswriter Matt Maher added: “Adam Peaty hadn’t lost a race in the 100m breaststroke in EIGHT years. He hadn’t been beaten at any distance since April 2018. Regardless of his troubled preparation, it’s fair to call tonight one of the greatest #swimming clashes of all time.
UK publication The Independent called it an “unthinkable outcome”.