- Category : Swimmer
- Type : R
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : None
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Four Ways 1
Alain Bernard ( born 1 May 1983) is a former French swimmer from Aubagne, Bouches-du-Rhône. Bernard won three medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics. After competing on the silver medal-winning French 4×100 m relay team, Bernard won the gold medal in the men's 100 m freestyle event.
He held the same 100 m freestyle world record after winning the European LC Championships 2008 final in a time of 47.50 seconds on 22 March 2008. He had already beaten the world record the previous day, finishing in 47.60 seconds in the semi-finals. On 23 March Bernard lowered the 50 m freestyle world record to a time of 21.50 but only held the record for four days before being bettered by Australian Eamon Sullivan. On 1 January 2013, Bernard was made an Officer (Officier) of the French National Order of Merit.
At the French Championships, Bernard qualified for the Olympic Games in Beijing in the 50 m freestyle (with a time of 21.69 s) and 100 m freestyle (47.82 s).
Before the relay, Bernard taunted the American swim team. He and the rest of his French team ended up in second place behind the American team by .08 seconds. Bernard, who was given a lead going into the anchor leg of slightly less than a bodylength, was caught in the final strokes by Jason Lezak, whose anchor leg of 46.06 seconds was the fastest relay leg in history.
The close defeat left Bernard "wounded," according to his coach. However, he rebounded to win the gold medal in the men's 100 metre freestyle final, in which Lezak tied for the bronze. Bernard became only the second Frenchman to win a gold medal in swimming, after Jean Boiteux, who won the 400 m freestyle at the 1952 Helsinki Games. He also finished third in the 50 m freestyle final behind César Cielo Filho of Brazil and Amaury Leveaux of France, making it the first time in Olympic history that France had produced two medallists in a swimming final.
Bernard failed to qualify for the 50 m freestyle and 100 m freestyle events of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London by finishing only fifth in both events during the French swimming championships in March 2012. He was in the France 4 x 100 m freestyle relay at the Olympics in the heats, but was not included in the team for the final. France won the event which made Bernard a two-time Olympic gold medalist.