Team USA swim star Caeleb Dressel has won his first individual Olympic gold medal with a dominant win in the 100m freestyle.
Dressel, 24, set a new Olympic record as he led the race from start to finish ahead of Kyle Chalmers of Australia, with Kliment Kolesnikov, representing the ROC team.
“It’s been a really tough year, it’s been so hard, so to get this result makes me so happy,” he told NBC as he fought back tears.
The Floridian was the first swimmer into the water and turned in first place as his rivals tried to unsuccessfully reel him in.
But he wold not be denied his victory and fought off his rivals to touch first in 47.02, breaking the record set back in Beijing in 2008.
Before the win, Dressel had three career relay golds at Olympics but no individual title.
He made his debut at Rio 2016 where he won gold medals in the men’s 4x100m freestyle and in the 4x100m medley relays, while finishing sixth in the 100m freestyle final.
He won his third Olympic gold in the 4x100m freestyle at Tokyo 2020 earlier this week, and was seen tossing his medal to a teammate who swam in his place in the heat.
Dressel, who hiked a section of the Appalachian Trail during the pandemic, had set the fastest time in the world this year in his qualifying heat and was a strong favourite for gold.
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