Ervin, at 35 the oldest swimmer to win a men`s individual gold, won his first title in a dead-heat in the same event with team mate Gary Hall Jr at the 2000 Sydney Games.
New Delhi: Anthony Ervin of the United States reclaimed the mantle of fastest man in the water on Friday by taking the Olympic 50 metres freestyle gold medal 16 years after he first won it, and by the slimmest of margins.
Ervin, at 35 the oldest swimmer to win a men`s individual gold, won his first title in a dead-heat in the same event with team mate Gary Hall Jr at the 2000 Sydney Games. Both touched out in 21.98 seconds.
He later sold that medal to raise money for relief efforts after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
France`s Florent Manaudou, the defending champion, finished second and just 0.01 seconds behind the 35-year-old veteran, who won in 21.40 seconds in a splash and dash down the pool.
Nathan Adrian of the United States took the bronze in the shortest and fastest race on the programme. He also finished third in the 100 freestyle on Wednesday.
The entire field was separated by just 0.68 seconds, with Ben Proud of Britain finishing fourth.
(With Agency inputs)