ATHENS, Greece – American Amanda Beard (search) won her first individual Olympic gold medal Thursday night, holding off Australian Leisel Jones in the 200-meter breaststroke. Beard won in an Olympic-record time of 2 minutes, 23.37 seconds — 0.23 seconds better than Jones, who was under world-record pace for the first 150 meters.
Jones took silver in 2:23.60. Anne Poleska of Germany earned bronze in 2:25.82.
Beard and Jones are the two fastest female breaststrokers in history. Jones owned the world record for two days in July before Beard broke it at the U.S. trials with a time of 2:22.44. The American also is the reigning world champion.
Beard, of Irvine, Calif., earned her sixth career Olympic medal. She also won a silver in the 200 individual medley in Athens. Four years ago, she was the bronze medalist in the 200 breast.
Jones earned a bronze in the 100 breaststroke at these games.
Defending Olympic champion Agnes Kovacs of Hungary finished fifth in the 200.
Brooke Hanson of Australia, the silver medalist in the 100 breaststroke in Athens, finished eighth and last.