It was the year Caeleb Dressel was to become the leader of the US men’s swimming team.
If the early returns to the Tokyo 2021 Olympics are any indication, it lives up to those expectations. On Sunday, he won gold in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay. On Wednesday night in the United States, he won his first individual gold in style, winning the 100 freestyle in an Olympic record time of 47.02 seconds.
Dressel now has four career Olympic gold medals, but his victory in the 100 freestyle, by 0.06 seconds over Australian rival Kyle Chalmers, meant a lot. Her moving interview with NBC after the race showed how much she weighs.
“I don’t know if it’s already installed. Right now I’m just a little bit hurt,” Dressel told NBC. “But it’s a really tough year, so it’s really tough to get the results. I mean, it went really well, so I’m happy.”
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And then came more emotion when he shared a special moment with his family as they got to talk to each other briefly on the show.
It was one of those moments that reminds you of how much these athletes sacrifice to participate in the Olympic Games. Caeleb Dressel and her family are both screaming across the globe. #TeamUSA # Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/2MfPYgaX0A
– Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) July 29, 2021
Dressel was still emotional on the way back to the team room as he continued to process his victory.
And then he capped off his Thursday morning in Tokyo by receiving the gold medal, watching from the podium as the American flag was hoisted and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played.