Adrian instant American hero after golden performance

LONDON -- One hesitates, truly hesitates, before proclaiming that so-and-so is the next American hero. It's a hard deal being a role model and an all-American guy these days, when everyone has a camera phone and social media is everywhere and someone you just met abruptly wants to know everything about you. Beyond which, our heroes, as we have seen far too many times, have a way of proving themselves all too susceptible to the intoxications and pressures of being, well, a hero.

That said, if you had to pick a good-looking, hard-body guy who swims really fast, who comes from a great family, who's emblematic of the multicultural United States of the 21st century, who's soft-spoken and well-spoken and who on Wednesday night won the heavyweight championship of swimming, the Olympic men's 100-meter, the first American to win it in 24 years -- America, meet Nathan Adrian.

In a thrilling race at the London Aquatics Center, Adrian, a 23-year-old from Bremerton, Wash., a product of the University of California at Berkeley, out-touched Australia's James Magnussen  by one-hundredth of a second for the victory.

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