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Showdown could prove costly for Phelps

Updated: August 16, 2004, 10:20 AM ET
By Eric Adelson | ESPN The Magazine

ATHENS, Greece -- Ian Crocker's sore throat has set off a chain reaction that might make the men's 200-meter freestyle final Monday the most momentous swim race ever.

Crocker's illness led to a horrific first leg of the Americans' 4x100 meter freestyle relay Sunday night. That shocker cost the United States the race, which cost Michael Phelps any hope of winning eight gold medals in these Olympics as the U.S. settled for bronze. If Crocker's poor health continues, it might ease Phelps' ...

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