ariarne titmus made the transition from the jacket to the swimmer to win the tokyo 2020 olympics.
The Aussie may not have won the most medals in the pool, but it was the prominence of her wins in the 200m and 400m freestyle that made her performance so impressive.
Reading: A. titmus olympic games tokyo 2020
It’s a different kind of achievement than Caeleb Dressel, who has been an overall champion since 2017 and was the favorite to win all three of his singles titles in Japan.
There was less certainty surrounding the titmus events, given that the 20-year-old was in her Olympic debut and had not experienced the same level of world championship dominance. There was also the little fact that she would be facing the reigning Olympic champion and arguably the greatest female swimmer of all time in all three of her events.
ariarne titmus: silencing the skeptics
Ever since titmus beat katie ledecky in the 400m freestyle final at the 2019 world championships, she has received intense media attention about her.
The swimming world wondered if she could repeat that feat, given that Ledecky was suffering from an illness at the time and would be more motivated to avenge that loss.
The coronavirus-imposed delay of the Olympics only served to amplify the narrative surrounding their rematch, which quickly became one of the most publicized rivalries in any sport in the run-up to the Games.
The race itself did not disappoint.
ledecky took the lead early on, but titmus showed the calm and maturity of a seasoned veteran by sitting on the champion’s shoulder, waiting to pounce. the moment came after the third and final corner before the final 50m, when the Aussie slid and held a lead shot to the wall to claim the gold medal.
Showing predatory instincts down the stretch to hand Ledecky his first Olympic loss in a singles event, Titmus’s moniker “The Terminator” had never been more appropriate.
The Australian looked happy but exhausted in the water, probably feeling a mixture of joy and relief at what she had delivered.
“It’s one thing to swim fast in the run-up, but it’s hard to be able to when it matters.” – ariarne titmus to novafm.
There was nothing but mutual respect between the couple afterwards.
“I just thanked him,” Titmus said of Ledecky. “I wouldn’t be here without her. she has set this standard for the middle distance freestyle.
“If I didn’t have someone like her to chase, I definitely wouldn’t be swimming like I do.”
Fortunately, Titmus’s trainer, Dean Boxall, was on hand to celebrate for the two Aussies, his wildly enthusiastic cheers and air punching ensuring he became an internet meme.
enter the Australian record books
However, Titmus couldn’t afford to be too animated. Champion that he is, his attention had already shifted to his next duel in the pool with Ledecky two days later: the 200m freestyle.
Ironically, the field stacked for this event was destined for a less intense run-up to Titmus and Ledecky. With the likes of Olympic gold medalists Federica Pellegrini and Penny Oleksiak also lining up for the final, the focus was more scattered.
but titmus stepped up to the plate once more, producing a typically brilliant final length to catch ledecky, who finished fifth, before soaring ahead of the rest of the field to win her second gold medal.
In doing so, Titmus joined legendary swimmers Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe as the only Australians to win the 200m and 400m double at an Olympic Games.
“she’s going to have to become australia’s new sports hero,” gould, who attended the same high school in titmus, told smh. she “she learns well and has good people around her.”
an exciting clash to come in paris 2024
The 800m proved to be a step too far for Titmus, who had to settle for second place behind Ledecky in the Americans’ favorite event.
but a silver medal and a new national record ensured titmus walked out of the pool happy.
“I think my stroke is more suitable for the shorter events,” he said, “but I’ll stick with the 800m.”
“I’m a silver medalist (in the 800m freestyle) at the Olympics, so I’d be stupid if I didn’t keep training for the race.”
Their rematch at the 2024 Paris Olympics, in just three years, has the potential to be another classic.
writing your own story in tokyo 2020
despite being only 20 years old, the road to tokyo was long for titmus.
her family moved from tasmania to queensland in 2015 when she was 14 years old, in search of the best training and competition to nurture her talent.
reflected on this after winning his second Olympic gold medal, saying, “I’m from a small town in Tassie, and this just goes to show that if you think you can do something, you can do it 100%.”
since 2019, he has been defined by a stunning win over ledecky.
now, you have written your own glorious history of tokyo 2020.