Australian swimmer Emma McKeon has won her first individual gold medal of Tokyo 2020 and her eighth Olympic medal overall, with a record 100m Freestyle swim. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.
After getting a good leap off the starting blocks, McKeon was out in front early in the fourth lane, leading the pack at the turn 0.02 seconds in front of the ROC’s Haughey.
In the final 50m, McKeon continued to swim strongly and gain some ascendency on her competition, keeping in touch with the World Record time until the last 10m or so.
McKeon was the first to touch the wall of the pool at the end, edging Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey, celebrating with joy as she saw her name on the board next to the number one position and embraced Cate Campbell in the lane next to her.
Already holding the Olympic Record from her Tokyo 2020 100m Freestyle qualifying time on Day 5 with a time of 52.13, McKeon swam the distance in 51.96 in the final, thus beating her own previous best by .17 seconds.
In the final, Haughey won silver, behind McKeon by 0.31 seconds and it was fellow Australian Campbell who won bronze with a time of 52.52.
The path to the final
McKeon was involved in Heat 6 of the 100m Freestyle on Day 5 of Tokyo 2020, claiming an Olympic Record on that day also with a time of 52.13.
The time beat Sweden’s Sarah Sjoestroem Olympic Record she had set from Day 2 of this year’s Games in a run during the 4x100m Freestyle Relay.
Haughey was also in McKeon’s heat, trailing the Australian by .57 seconds, indicating the strength of both their runs and an encounter in the final a must-watch race.
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McKeon’s medal history adds a gold
McKeon has added an individual gold to her team gold from the 4x100m Freestyle Relay but it’s also her fourth gold overall at Tokyo 2020. In the 4x200m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly, McKeon claimed bronze in both events.
Though, this year’s gold is the first individual gold won by the two-time Olympian.
At Rio 2016, McKeon claimed four medals – one gold, two silver and a bronze – although the 200m Freestyle was the only individual race medal for the swimmer.
McKeon still has one more event at Tokyo 2020, the 50m Freestyle where the heats begin later tonight, on Day 7 of the Games. McKeon is in Heat 10 of the event with the semi-finals and final across the next two days.
More records for McKeon
Not only did McKeon claim a new Olympic Record in the final, but with Cate Campbell coming third and winning bronze, it becomes the first time Australia has had two medallists in the same 100m Freestyle event since Melbourne 1956.
The 27-year-old McKeon from Wollongong is also the oldest gold medal winner in the event’s Olympic history.
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