Protest denied: Serbians admit defeat to Michael Phelps
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BEIJING -- It has been confirmed that Serbia filed an official protest over the finish in the 100-meter butterfly, won by one-hundredth of a second by Michael Phelps over Milo Cavic. After reviewing the slow-motion tape, the Serbians still weren't sure that Phelps had won, but they acknowledged that it would be futile to continue to argue.
"It was very clear that the Serbia swimmer touched second after Michael Phelps,'' a Kenyan referee, Ben Ekumbo, for the international swimming federation (FINA) said. "One was stroking and one was gliding.''
Said Branislav Jevtic, the head of Serbia's delegation: "They [FINA referees] examined the video and I think the case is closed. The video says [Phelps] finished first. In my opinion, it's not right. But we must follow the rules. Everybody saw what happened.''
USA Swimming spokesman Jamie Olson said the tape was slowed to one frame every 10-thousandth of a second just to make sure which swimmer touched first.
Cavic, who was born in Anaheim, raised in Tustin and swam for UC Berkeley, said: "I'm stoked with what happened. I don't want to fight this. People will be bringing it up for years and saying you won that race. If we got to do this again, I would win.''
Cavic acknowledged that the extra half stroke Phelps took at the end was the difference. It was a gamble, but it paid off. Cavic glided to the wall.
"It's kind of hard to see,'' he said. "I know I had a long finish and Michael Phelps had a short finish.''
-- Randy Harvey
Photo: U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps, left, touches home for gold, just ahead of Milorad Cavic from Serbia, right, in the men's 100m butterfly final. Phelps wins his seventh gold medal, equaling Mark Spitz's 1972 Munich Games record, at the National Aquatic Center at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Credit: Patrick B. Kraemer / EPA