Caeleb Dressel is the world champion in the 100-meter freestyle race, and as of Thursday, he’s the Olympic champion, too.
He did it in Olympic record time: 47.02 seconds.
The American swimmer now has two golds in the Tokyo Games. He earned the first with his teammates earlier this week, having raced the first leg of the victorious 4×100 free relay Monday.
Thursday was the first time that Dressel has won an Olympic gold medal in an individual event.
The Florida native had won a gold in Tokyo for the 4×100-meter relay, and he won two golds in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, both in group events.
After Thursday’s win Dressel fought back tears and said he wasn’t sure the victory had set in yet.
“It’s a really tough year, it’s really hard. So, to have the results show up, I mean — it really came together, so I’m happy,” Dressel said.
He became emotional when speaking to his wife, Meghan, parents and others at a watch party over a video call. “Love you guys, thank you,” he said.
Dressel, who was a favorite in the event, got off to a great start, took the lead and never lost it.
He defeated defending Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia, who took the top prize at the 2016 Rio Games. Dressel came in sixth that year.
Chalmers finished second Thursday. Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Olympic Committee won bronze.
The 100-meter is a relatively short race and Kolesnikov, who had also been called a favorite, was in second for much of it.
It was the second nail-biter event in swimming Thursday. Earlier, American and first-time Olympian Bobby Finke came from behind in the final stretch to win the gold in the 800-meter freestyle.
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