If the swimming world is casting an eye around for the next superstar, Sun Yang could well be one of the candidates as he showed with his stunning swim to win the 1,500 meters freestyle and beat his own world record in the event.
Sun won in a time of 14.31.02, eight and a half seconds ahead of his nearest rival and 3.12 seconds faster than the record he set in Shanghai in 2011.
However, the Chinese swimmer, who went into the race with a gold medal from the 400 meter freestyle and bronze from the 200 meter and 4x200 meter medley had to overcome a heart-stopping moment when he jumped into the pool before the race began.
Chinese swimmer Sun Yang reacts after winning 1,500 meters freestyle in the Olympic Games in London Saturday, August 4, 2012. [Photo: sina.com.cn]
Amid calls for quiet from the area announcer before the start, Sun was allowed to take his place back on the blocks and once the race began, he swam into an early lead with Park Taehwan and Ryan Cochrane giving chase.
It looked to begin with as if it wasn't going to be Sun's fastest swim, as he was two seconds off his own record place after 600 meters, but all of the swimmers in London have stressed that records are not important at the Games where the main thing is winning gold and after 700 meters Sun was three and a half seconds ahead of his closest pursuer, Cochrane.
The gap had widened by the 900 meter mark as Sun upped the pace and began to close in on the record time, while behind, Oussama Mellouli overhauled Park to move third.
With 300 meters to go Sun was over six seconds ahead as the crowd began to cheer him home as Cochrane and Mellouli were involved in a titanic battle for second. Cochrane held on, but Sun took the applause, the record and gold as he walked out of the pool draped in his nation's flag.
It was China's fifth gold medal at these Olympics in the swimming pool and the seventh world record to be smashed in London.