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NEWS FEATURE Unexpected duo top women's 100m freestyle in Rio By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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A Campbell double was considered possible in the women‘s 100m freestyle in Rio but the sisters were left stunned by two young guns.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Many pundits considered that the Australian Campbell sisters, Cate and Bronte, would top the women‘s 100-metre freestyle in Rio Thursday but the duo were displaced by an unexpected pair in the gold medal race.

Simone Manuel of the United States and Canadian teenager Penny Oleksiak shared gold, having each swum a new Olympic time of 52.70 seconds and with Sweden‘s Sarah Sjostrom taking bronze, the Campbell sisters were left empty-handed.

"My first gold medal, at my first Olympics, is kind of a surprise to me," Manuel said. "I never thought I would be in this position but I‘m so blessed and honoured to be on the medal stand.

"All my hard work has paid off and I am really happy about it."

Cate Campbell went out under world-record pace before fading while Bronte had to settle for fourth.

The 20-year-old Manuel would normally be considered an up-and-coming youth but standing alongside Oleksiak she suddenly seems experienced. The Canadian is just 16 years old and is the first individual gold medallists born this millenium.

"I saw Simone‘s name and thought, ‘OK, I came second‘, and then I saw that it said Olympic record beside both names," Oleksiak said. "It‘s crazy. No one ties at the Olympics really, but it was great to tie with her."

While Manuel was given her first medal of the Games, Oleksiak now has four (1-1-2) - making her the first-ever Canadian to win four medals at a Summer Games.

"I definitely knew the presure was on to try and make history, to get four medals," Oleksiak said. "But I wasn‘t thinking about it before my race, just thinking about going as fast as I could."

In the frantic sprint for the finish, both women said they were unaware of the tie at the touch.

"After I stared at it a little while I realised I tied with Penny," Manuel said. "I don‘t think it could be any better. I just met Penny today but she‘s awesome."

And Sjostrom was also amazed by what was just the third split gold medal in Olympic history after Americans Nancy Hogshead and Carrie Steinseifer shared the 1984 100m freestyle and another US pair, Anthony Ervin and Gary Hall Jr, split the men‘s 50m in 2000.

"I think that was a big shock for everyone in the final, I think we had to watch the result many times to understand what happened," Sjostrom said.

Both gold medallists are now looking at bright futures in the sport with Oleksiak facing the prospect of going to Tokyo 2020 aged 20 but as a potential role model for others.

"It‘s pretty insane to win a gold medal at your first Olympics," she said. "I hope we can inspire kids to pick up where we left off."

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