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Cesar Cielo breaks down into tears after winning 50 fly title 4 days after doping ruling
SHANGHAI (AP) ' Cesar Cielo said his doping ordeal was behind him. On Monday, the emotions of the past month came back in full force when the Brazilian won the 50-meter butterfly at the world championships.
Cielo propped himself up on a lane rope, looked up at the scoreboard and began sobbing.
Last week, Cielo was cleared of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following an emergency hearing here in China.
"It's been a tough time for me, something that I didn't expect at all for my career," Cielo said. "But I had to deal with it and it feels like the biggest relief of my life to overcome something like that and be able to compete."
Also on the second night of the eight-day meet, host China took its first gold when 15-year-old Ye Shiwen went from fifth to first during the final freestyle leg in the women's 200 individual medley.
Alexander Dale Oen led from start to finish to take gold in the 100 breaststroke, then pointed to the Norwegian flag on his swim cap in honor of the 93 people killed during the twin attacks in his country.
Earlier, the powerful American team took its first title when Dana Vollmer won the 100 fly for her first individual gold at a worlds or Olympics.
Also, Michael Phelps qualified only fifth in the 200 freestyle semifinals, which was led by French teenager Yannick Agnel. Germany's Paul Biedermann, who handed Phelps a stinging defeat in this event at the last worlds in Rome two years ago, qualified second, and Phelps' teammate Ryan Lochte was third.
Cielo and three teammates tested positive for furosemide, a banned diuretic, at a meet in Rio de Janeiro in May. After the Brazilian swimming federation gave Cielo a warning, swimming governing body FINA appealed the decision to the CAS, which upheld the Brazilian ruling.
Cielo said he consumed the drug in a contaminated batch of a food supplement he regularly uses.
The ruling prompted an outcry from other swimmers, who called it unfair, and there were some whistles in the crowd after his victory.
Cielo, who will also attempt to defend his 50 and 100 freestyle titles later this week, finished in 23.10 seconds. Matthew Targett took the silver in 23.28 and Australian teammate Geoff Huegill, who has come out of a four-year retirement, took the bronze in 23.35.
Cielo cried again during the medal ceremony, and the capacity crowd at the Oriental Sports Center responded by applauding in encouragement.
"It's difficult for him," Targett said. "I'm not going to speak for my friend, but I lived with the guy and I know exactly what he's going through. At times like this, you find out who your real friends are."
Targett called Kenyan racer Jason Dunford, who finished seventh, a "sore loser" for allegedly putting his thumbs down after the race.
"I'm really happy for him," Targett continued. "And if I was ever to get beaten by anybody I would want it to be a friend."
Vollmer won her race in 56.87, just 0.07 ahead of Australia's Alicia Coutts, with Lu Ying of China 0.19 back in third. Coutts also won silver in the 200 individual medley.
"First world championships and two silver medals in two days of being here, so I'm pretty happy with that," Coutts said. "You know there's that little element of disappointment being so close to gold, but it all comes with experience.
It was Vollmer's sixth career medal at worlds but first individual gold.
"I was a little slower than in the semis. It was a little more painful than yesterday," Vollmer said. "I'm so excited. I've never won a world championship before."
Coutts was nearly half a second under world-record pace at the turn and Vollmer didn't take the lead until there were about 20 meters to go.
World record holder Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden finished fourth.
Sjoestroem's mark of 56.06 was one of 43 world records set at the 2009 worlds in Rome before high-tech body suits were banned at the beginning of 2010.
Vollmer has been swimming at an elite level since she was 12, when she became the youngest competitor at the 2000 U.S. Olympic trials. Her only Olympic medal was a gold as a member of the Americans' 4x200 relay squad at the 2004 Athens Games.
On Sunday, Vollmer swam the anchor leg as the Americans took silver in the 4-x-100 relay behind the Netherlands. She is also entered in the 50 fly, 100 free, and 4x200 relay here.
In the women's 100 breaststroke semifinals, American standout Rebecca Soni led in 1:04.91, a massive 1.75 ahead of Australian rival Leisel Jones.
Soni was less than half a second off Jessica Hardy's world record time of 1:04.45 set in 2009. In Tuesday's final, Soni has a decent chance of becoming the first swimmer to break a long-course record since the return to textile suits.
"I know she's going to do a very quick time and I'm very well prepared for that," Jones said. "She's going to be extremely tough to beat."
Jeremy Stravius of France led the 100 backstroke semifinals in 52.76, finishing just ahead of Japanese favorite Ryosuke Irie, who clocked 53.05, and Camille Lacourt of France, who timed 53.09.