RIO DE JANEIRO: Gregorio Paltrinieri stormed to Italy’s first swimming gold medal of the Rio Olympics with a brilliant victory in the men’s 1,500m freestyle on Saturday.
Paltrinieri threatened the world record set by China’s Sun Yang in winning Olympic gold in 2012. His time of 14min 34.57sec put him almost five seconds in front of America’s Connor Jaeger with another Italian, Gabriele Detti, taking bronze.
With Paltrinieri in control, Jaeger, Detti, American Jordan Wilimovsky and Australia’s Mack Horton jockeyed for silver and bronze, Jaeger finishing second in an American record of 14:39.48. Detti nabbed the bronze in 14:40.86.
Wilimovsky was fourth, a solid finish to launch into the 10K open water competition next week.
Paltrinieri, 21, added Olympic gold to the world title he won last year in Kazan, Russia. Sun was a notable absentee after failing to advance from the finals as he battled the after-effects of a fever.