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Beijing swimming hero Jason Lezak retires

Jan 16, 2013, 5:20 PM EST

Jason Lezak Getty Images

Jason Lezak, the guy who swam arguably the greatest relay leg in swimming history, has decided to call it quits at the age of 37.

Lezak became a household name during the Beijing Olympics when he brought the U.S. 4x100m freestyle relay team from a distant second to the gold medal in the last 50 meters of the race. He was nearly a full body length behind France’s Alain Bernard when he dove into the water for the anchor leg. Not only was a gold medal on the line for the U.S., Michael Phelps’ hopes of going eight for eight were in serious jeopardy in just his second race.

After the first 50 meters, Lezak still trailed by a considerable margin. Then he started making up ground. And more ground. Before we knew it, Lezak had pulled even with Bernard about 10 meters from the wall.

You know how the story ends; Lezak out-touched Bernard by .08 of a second.

Lezak decided to make one more Olympic run last year and made the London squad by the skin of his teeth, finishing sixth in the 100m freestyle at the Olympic Trials. In London, Lezak swam in the prelims of the 4x100m freestyle and earned a silver medal with the squad.

This week, Lezak told OCVarsity.com he was ready to call it a career.

“I’ve accomplished a lot and had to sacrifice a lot to get there,” said Lezak, who owns eight Olympic medals (four gold). “I just want to be able to relax and enjoy the kids to the fullest.”

Lezak and his wife have two sons.