It may not be the result he’d wanted, but César Cielo still managed to sprint his way to the medal podium at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The 25-year-old Brazilian swimmer who specializes in sprint events wasn’t able to defend his Olympic title in the 50-meter freestyle, settling for bronze behind surprise winner Florent Manaudou of France and American Cullen Jones in Friday’s final at the London Games.
Cielo, the current world record holder in the 100-meter and 50-meter freestyle, touched the wall at 21:59. Manaudou finished the race with a time of 21:34, while Jones clocked in at 21:54.
Cielo’s teammate Bruno Fratus finished fourth with a time of 21:61.
Cielo—the reigning world champion and world record holder with a time of 20:91—said after the race that he felt tired on his fourth consecutive day of competition and lacked explosiveness in the final.
“There are various factors in the 50 meters. Manaudou did the race of his life and his time was better than my best time this year,” the Brazilian said. “It’s another Olympic medal for my career. I’m not going to lie. I could’ve swum better, but Manaudou deserved to win gold.”
Cielo fared better in the 50-meter final than he did in Wednesday’s 100-meter freestyle final, in which he finished sixth with a time of 47:92, four-tenths of a second behind gold medalist Nathan Adrian of the United States.
He also holds the world record in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 46:91.
Cielo says he now plans to go on vacation following a year of non-stop training and will take some time before thinking about his next competition.
Cielo’s gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the 50 meter freestyle competition is Brazil’s sole Olympic gold in swimming to date.