London: Dana Vollmer ended a lifetime of frustration and battles with her health to win the 100 metres butterfly gold medal in world record time at the London Olympics on Sunday.
The American, swimming like a woman possessed, powered her way through two laps of the Aquatic Centre to win in 55.98 seconds, slicing 0.08 off the previous mark set by Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom at the 2009 world championships in Rome.
China's Lu Ying finished second while Australia's Alicia Coutts, a gold medallist in the 4x100 freestyle relay on Saturday, was third and Sjostrom fourth but all the plaudits went to Vollmer.
While Vollmer won a relay gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the 24-year-old had never competed in an individual event at the Games before London.
In 2000, she was a bright-eyed 12-year-old at the US trials and did not qualify for the Games at all. In 2004 she was a surprise qualifier, but only in relay, and was earmarked as a future champion.
In 2008, however, the combination of a mystery illness and the weight of expectation got the better of her and she failed to make the American team.