- Title: U.S. teen gold medallist Jacoby: 'I just swam the best that I could'
- Date: 27th July 2021
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (JULY 27, 2021) (REUTERS) U.S. OLYMPIC MEDALLISTS - WOMEN'S 100-METRE BREASTSTROKE GOLD MEDALLIST, LYDIA JACOBY (RIGHT) AND WOMEN'S TRIATHLON BRONZE MEDALLIST, KATIE ZAFERES (LEFT) AT NEWS CONFERENCE / JACOBY STANDING UP AND WALKING DOWN STEPS TO POSE WITH HER GOLD MEDAL JACOBY POSING WITH HER GOLD MEDAL
- Embargoed: 10th August 2021 11:25
- Keywords: Alaska swimming Jacoby wins 100m breaststroke Lydia Jacoby Olympic swimming Olympics Tokyo Tokyo 2020 swimming
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN
- Country: USA
- Topics: Olympics,Sport,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001ENM91ZB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Lydia Jacoby would likely have been watching the Tokyo Games as a spectator had the event not been postponed by a year but on Tuesday (July 27) the Alaskan teenager upstaged Olympic and world champions to win gold in the women's 100m breaststroke.
The 17-year-old pipped Tatjana Schoenmaker to gold, touching in a time of 1:04.95 with the South African 0.27 behind. Jacoby's team mate, Rio Olympic champion and world record holder Lilly King, was in the bronze medal position in 1:05.54.
Jacoby accelerated over the final 25 metres to push ahead of her two rivals, who had been expected to battle it out for gold. After touching the wall she looked stunned as she looked up at the scoreboard.
Jacoby, the first Alaskan native to win an Olympic swimming gold medal, said she had been planning to come to Tokyo last year with her family to watch the Games before they were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as she had little chance of making the team.
The extra year has been a gift for her to mature in the sport, she said, adding that she remembered watching King in Rio when she was 12-years-old.
"It's been incredible to be here, especially after this past year that we've had with COVID to be part of the world coming together once again," she said. "It was great this morning. I just swam the best that I could and it turned out well."
Jacoby, whose parents are both boat captains and take visitors on whale watching tours in Alaska, started swimming aged six and initially took lessons as a child because of the amount of time her family spent on the water.
"My parents wanted me to be safe in the water - and I just kept going from there. It's been great ever since. I started seeing a lot of success with it," Jacoby said.
She will finish her last year of high school before going to study at the University of Texas, Austin.
Defending champion King and Schoenmaker, both 24, joked at their news conference that Jacoby made them feel "so old".
King was seen celebrating with Jacoby at the finish line, a sign of camaraderie that Jacoby appreciated.
"Just competing alongside Lily as someone who I've looked up to really my entire swmiming career has been amazing. And being able to be up there on the podium alongside her as well," she said.
Two Russian swimmers touched the wall after King, with 16-year-old Evgeniia Chikunova finishing fourth and Yuliya Efimova, a six-time world champion, in fifth.
(Production: Nathan Frandino, Miguel Pereira)
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