Lydia Jacoby of Alaska has won an unexpected Olympic gold medal in swimming for the United States.
On Monday night in Tokyo, four gold medal swimming races were held, and Team USA appeared to be on track to win a large number of medals. The only gold medal for the night, though, went to an adolescent swimmer from Alaska.
Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old from Seward, earned Olympic summer gold in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, making her the first Alaskan to do it. Corey Cogdell, who won bronze in shooting at the Summer Olympics, is the only other medalist from the state.
Jacoby beat out a field that included Lilly King, a former Olympic champion and current world record holder, as well as a slew of other swimmers.
This wasn’t expected to be the most important race of the night for the Americans, but it was.
On night four of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the women’s 100-meter backstroke finals set up to be an exciting event, and the competitors didn’t disappoint.
In possibly the best race on Monday night, Australian Kaylee McKeown set a new Olympic record by defeating American Regan Smith (American time).
Rowdy Gaines, an American TV broadcaster and former Olympic swimmer, dubbed the field “the greatest in the history of women’s swimming.”
This comes just one night after Ariarne Titmus of Australia came from behind to beat American Katie Ledecky in the finals of the women’s 400-meter freestyle race, producing an upset and reigniting the Australian-American rivalry in international swimming.
Ledecky, who was a heavy favorite to win numerous freestyle events, led the 400 meters on Monday night (Japan time) until Titmus came back to take the Olympic gold in the final 100 meters.
She won her heat in the 200-meter freestyle on Tuesday in Japan, putting her in a rematch with Titmus in the final on Wednesday (Tuesday night in the United States). On Tuesday night, Ledecky is the favorite to win the 1,500.