For the overwhelming majority of athletes at these Games, any medal would define a career. But for Caleb Dressel and Emma McKeon, one is never enough and both added their name to a select band of Olympic swimmers on Sunday.
McKeon struck gold in the 50-meter freestyle and 4×100 medley relay, to make it seven medals overall in Tokyo, five gold and two bronze.
The 27-year-old from 2032 Olympic hosts Brisbane is the first female swimmer to win seven medals at a single Games and only the second woman to achieve the feat in any sport, joining Soviet gymnast Maria Gorokhovskaya, who claimed two golds and five silvers at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
“It’s very surreal now it’s over,” McKeon said. “It all went by very quickly and I’m very happy with how the meet went.
“I look at the athletes that have gone before me and have been so impressed and inspired by what they’ve done but I’ve never been into the stats and medal counts. But to be in that kind of company, it’s an honor and I know I’ve worked hard for it.”
American swimmer Dressel earlier matched McKeon with two further golds on day 9 of the Games. With wins in the 50-meter freestyle and 4×100 medley relay, the 24-year-old Floridian joined a small band of male swimmers who won at least five gold medals at one Games.
Michael Phelps did it three times, including a record eight golds at the 2008 Beijing Games. There’s also Mark Spitz (seven golds in 1972), East German Kristin Otto (six golds in 1988) and another American, Matt Biondi (five golds, also in ’88).
“I’m giving a pat on the back then put it away and move forward,” Dressel said. “I’m going to take a break, I’m pretty over swimming, and enjoy time with my family.”
First freestyle golds
There was further joy for Australia and the USA on Sunday, with Bobby Finke winning the 1,500-meter freestyle race before Logan Martin won Australia the first ever gold in BMX freestyle, which was making its Olympic debut. Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington put on a show to claim the women’s title, landing the first 360 backflip in women’s competition.
Later, there was another win for the States when Xander Schauffele held off a huge chasing pack to win men’s golf gold ahead of Rory Sabbiatini, representing Slovakia.
Swimming bronze, hockey semi for Germany
Florian Wellbrock picked up the first German medal of Sunday in the 1,500-meter freestyle race won by Finke. The Bremen native, 23, is a two time world champion but his bronze on Sunday was his first Olympic podium.
And Germany’s men’s field hockey team has reached the semifinals in Tokyo with a narrow victory over reigning champions Argentina. The team now play unbeaten favorites Australia, who edged past the Netherlands on penalties, in the last four on Tuesday.
Medallists banned for sightseeing
Organizers say they have banished six people, including two silver medalists from the country of Georgia, for breaking rules designed to protect against COVID-19.
Toshiro Muto, the games chief executive, says it was a “clear and serious violation” of the so-called playbooks of health and safety rules for two Georgian judokas to go sight-seeing.
Vazha Margvelashvili and Lasha Shavdatuashvili were seen near Tokyo Tower on Tuesday, after their events were finished. Muto says the Georgian embassy in Tokyo has apologized for the incident.
The other four were accredited contractors from Britain and the United States arrested for allegedly using cocaine before the Olympics opened.
mp (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)