Thursday's men's 10-kilometer marathon swimming was full of dramas as Dutchman Maarten van der Meijden made a last minute dash to take the gold from Briton David Davis and three-time world champion Russia's Vladimir Dyatchin was disqualified from the race at the last lap.
Davies, who had led the race during the most part of the two-hour grueling race, seemed to have secured his win in the last 100 before van der Meijden sprinted from his side to touch first.
Van der Meijden won in one hour 51 minutes and 51.6 seconds, 1.5 seconds ahead of Davies.
"It's going to take a while for it to sink in. At the last bit I didn't know what was going on," Davies said."I gave it everything and now I've got something to show for it."
"My goggle was in my eye, I had a foot in my eye and got a slapped face," Davies said. "Maybe I'm too much of a nice guy. I need to be more rough."
German veteran Thomas Lurz won bronze in 1:51:53.6.
"I knew Maarten (van der Weijden, gold medalist) finished well so it was important to stay with him," Lurz said.
"It was 700m before the end that I had to battle with the group. This lost me a lot of strength and the silver. It was extremely tight for first and second places, but that is the best thing about the sport, it's so exciting," he said.
Van der Meijden was regarded as a great swimming talent and took part at the European Youth Championships in 1999 and the Open Water World Championships in 2000. But in 2001 he was diagnosed with leukemia and his swimming career seemed to have to come a sudden end.
The swimmer fought his way back, making a comeback at the 2003 and 2004 Open Water World Championships when he swam faster than before the disease.
Russia's Dyatchin, who has dominated the 10-km open water race in world championships and World Cups, was disqualified after receiving a red flap in the last lap.
"I got a yellow card and a red card during the race. It's my first time to get two cards in my sporting career," he said. "I struggled in the water with a lot of athletes around me. I didn't want to push them."
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)