|Men's 50 metre freestyle|
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
|Venue||Beijing National Aquatics Center|
|Dates||August 14, 2008 (heats)|
August 15, 2008 (semifinals)
August 16, 2008 (final)
|Competitors||97 from 90 nations|
|Winning time||21.30 OR|
|Swimming at the|
2008 Summer Olympics
|4 × 100 m||men||women|
|4 × 200 m||men||women|
|4 × 100 m||men||women|
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. The French tandem of Amaury Leveaux and Alain Bernard took home the silver and bronze with respective times of 21.45 and 21.49.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Eamon Sullivan (AUS)||21.28||Sydney, Australia||28 March 2008|||
|Olympic record||Alexander Popov (EUN)||21.91||Barcelona, Spain||30 July 1992||-|
The following Olympic records were set during this competition.
|14 August||Heat 11||César Cielo||Brazil||21.47||OR|
|14 August||Heat 12||Amaury Leveaux||France||21.46||OR|
|15 August||Semifinal 2||César Cielo||Brazil||21.34||OR|
|16 August||Final||César Cielo||Brazil||21.30||OR|
The A standard for the event was 22.35 seconds. Up to two swimmers per National Olympic Committee (NOC) could qualify by swimming that time at an approved qualification event. The B standard was 23.13 seconds. Up to one swimmer per NOC meeting that time could qualify. NOCs without a male swimmer qualified in any event could also use their universality place.
The competition consisted of three rounds: heats, semifinals, and a final. The swimmers with the best 16 times in the heats advanced to the semifinals. The swimmers with the best 8 times in the semifinals advanced to the final. Swim-offs were used as necessary to break ties for advancement to the next round.
The swimmers with the top 16 times, regardless of heat, advanced to the semifinals.
The swimmers with the top 8 times, regardless of heat, advanced to the final.
|1||1||4||César Cielo Filho||Brazil||21.34||Q, OR, AM|
|5||2||3||Roland Mark Schoeman||South Africa||21.74||Q|
|2||5||Ben Wildman-Tobriner||United States||Q|
|11||1||3||George Bovell||Trinidad and Tobago||21.86|
|12||1||8||Gideon Louw||South Africa||21.97|
|13||2||2||Garrett Weber-Gale||United States||22.08|
|4||César Cielo Filho||Brazil||21.30||OR, AM|
|5||8||Ben Wildman-Tobriner||United States||21.64|
|7||2||Roland Mark Schoeman||South Africa||21.67||AF|
- "Olympic Swimming Schedule". USA Today. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "'Big Cesar' races to first Brazilian swim gold". ESPN. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "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.
- 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.
- "Cielo Filho takes 50m gold". ABC News. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Crumpacker, John (16 August 2008). "Wildman-Tobriner is 5th in the 50". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Sullivan snaps 50m record again". ABC News. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
- "Olympic Qualifying Procedures for Swimming" (PDF). FINA. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-04. Retrieved 2007-03-20.