Tokyo, July 31 | A picture of two top Australian women swimmers hugging after they won the gold and bronze respectively at the Tokyo Olympic Games has gone viral with thousands of fans on social media saying it was one of the most beautiful moments of the quadrennial showpiece.
Kaylee McKeown won her second gold medal at the Games in the women’s 200m backstroke final on Saturday, making her the first Australian to ever win both the 100m and 200m in this discipline at one Olympics, while fellow Australian Emily Seebohm clinched a bronze.
During the medal ceremony, Kaylee invited Emily to share the top step of the podium with her during the playing of Australia’s national anthem. With their masks on, the two hugged each other, which left fans doffing their hats at Kaylee’s gesture.
The Tokyo 2020 organisers tweeted a picture of the two and wrote, “A beautiful moment for Australia. Kaylee McKeown invited teammate Emily Seebohm to share the top step of the podium with her during the playing of their national anthem. #UnitedByEmotion #StrongerTogether #Olympics.”
Before the Games, the Tokyo organisers had mentioned in the Olympic playbook that medal winners should maintain social distancing due to Covid-19, and elongated podiums were made to maintain distance between medal winners.
A fan tweeted a GIF of a child, doffing his hat with ‘RESPECT’ written on it.
Thanks to their medals, Australia have equalled their best-ever swimming medals tally at an away Olympics.
This was Kaylee’s second gold in Tokyo, making her the first Australian ever to win both the 100m and 200m in this discipline at one Olympics. It was Australia’s seventh swimming gold in Tokyo, equalling 2004 Athens as the country’s best overseas games in the pool.
Australia’s swimmers will have a chance to equal the eight gold medals won by the country in the pool in Melbourne in 1956, with the women’s 50m freestyle and women’s 4x100m medley relay finals to be staged on Sunday.
Kaylee, the world record holder in 100m backstroke, was second at the final turn of Saturday’s finals but swam the final 50m in a field-best 31.08 seconds to beat Canada’s Kylie Masse. Fellow Australian Emily came third.
“The (200m) is supposed to be my dominant event so to come away with another gold is really exciting. I knew I had it deep in me and I think the whole Australian team did as well,” said the 20-year-old Kaylee, according to The Australian.
Emily, 29, broke down in tears after the race, saying she was “shocked” to win her sixth Olympic medal at her fourth Games in the 200 backstroke.
“The team has done so well and it’s an absolute dream on this team and I’m so grateful for all the times I’ve been on the Australian swim team,” she told the host broadcaster.
Later on Saturday, Australian freestyle prodigy Ariarne Titmus won her fourth medal in Tokyo, including two individual gold medals in the 200m and 400m freestyle, when she came second behind Katie Ledecky in the 800m freestyle final.
Australia won a bronze in the mixed 4x100m medley relay behind Britain and China.