Stephanie Rice breaks world record, wins gold

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{image-stephanie rice_10082008.jpg}Beijing, Aug 10: An ecstatic Stephanie Rice broke the world record to take Australia's first gold in Beijing's Watercube pool today.

Watched by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and her family, Rice's win gave Australia its 400th summer Olympic medal. "It's an amazing achievement, it hasn't really kicked in yet. I've really given it my all," the 20-year-old said. "I was really focused on my own race. I wasn't really thinking about the end of the race." Rice led the pool for the first 200 meters before being caught by Zimbabwe's Kirsty Coventry.

But the young Australian pulled ahead in the breastroke leg and maintained the lead through the last freestyle lap to finish in a time of 4 minutes and 28.45 seconds.

The pin-up girl of the Australian team threw her arms into the air in a gesture of triumph after the race ended when she realised she had broken the world record.

Coventry came second closely followed by American Katie Hoff.

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