Sept. 22, 2000
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - University of California sophomore Anthony Ervin shared the Olympic gold in the 50-meter freestyle Friday with teammate and training partner Gary Hall Jr., tying in 21.98 seconds.
Ervin, the 2000 Pac-10 Men's Swimming Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, earlier this year won the NCAA 100-meter freestyle title with a U.S. Open record time of 47.36. Ervin also captured the NCAA title and broke the world record in the 50-meter freestyle (short course) with a time of 21.21. He became the first Bear swimmer to win more than one individual national title at an NCAA Swimming Championship since Matt Biondi in 1997.
Ervin represents the 13th time a Cal men's swimmer has won an Olympic gold medal, and he is in an elite group of Bears to win an individual gold. The list includes Bengt Baron, who won a gold medal in the 100-meter back in the 1980 Olympics, Par Arvidsson, who won the gold in the 100-meter butterfly in 1980, and Matt Biondi, who won the gold medal in 1988 in the 50 and 100-meter free.
"I don't mind sharing the gold medal podium (with Ervin)," Hall said. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, a guy I practice with all the time. It was like another day of practice."
Hall, of Phoenix, and Ervin, of Valencia, Calif., are training partners in Arizona. Ervin, who at 19 was the youngest swimmer in the eight-man final, is the first swimmer of black heritage to make a U.S. Olympic team. Both Hall and Ervin are coached by Cal's Associate Head Swim Coach Mike Bottom.
The Americans shared a joyous hug and Ervin leaned over to tell Hall, "It couldn't have ended up any better."
"The 50 was my place to shine," Ervin said. "Thankfully, I did.
"We had a tie for the gold medal in the Olympics," Ervin continued. "That makes us the best in the world in no uncertain terms."
Another Cal standout also performed well in the 50-meter free final. Bart Kizierowski, who competed for the Bears from 1997 to 2000 and was swimming for his native Poland, placed fifth with a time of 22.22. Kizierowski was the individual NCAA champion in the 100-yard free in 1999.