Backstory to moving Olympics moment
The Tokyo Olympics is already being hailed by some as Australia’s best ever, not just because of the extraordinary medal haul of the team.
Emily Seebohm opened up about the touching moment on the podium she shared with young Aussie swimmer Kaylee McKeown after the 20-year-old claimed her first Olympic gold medal in the 200m backstroke in Tokyo.
McKeown had earlier claimed the 100m final and backed it up in the 200m backstroke, clocking 2:04.68 in lane two ahead of Canada’s Kylie Masse (2:05.42) and Seebohm (2:06.17) in third.
With a gold and bronze medal for Australia, the pair had a heartwarming exchange on the podium when Seebohm presented McKeown with her prize, before the younger swimmer then invited the 29-year-old veteran to join her on the top step.
“It was my favourite part of the OIympics to be honest, to be able to do that,” Seebohm said of the moment on Nine’s Today.
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“That was just so amazing.
“We were both so emotional. Because we don’t have family there it’s really, really hard. I train with Kaylee’s sister Taylor, so I turned to Kaylee and said ‘Do you mind if I present you with your medal?’ Because no-one was actually doing that there because of COVID and I really wanted something special we could share together. Especially for Taylor as well.
“I know Taylor would have killed to have been there to watch her sister do so so well, and so would her mum. So I feel like we had this connection there and I really wanted to do something for her that we can remember forever.”
McKeown was one of the many breakout stars from the Australian swim team at the Tokyo Olympics, but she did not dismiss those who came before her.
“She deserved to be on that gold medal podium as much as I did. It meant the world to both of us,” McKeown said after she took gold ahead of Seebohm.
Four-time Olympian Seebohm was in tears when discussing her achievement after the race, and went on to claim 4x100m medley relay·gold later in the Games too, which brought her personal Olympic medal tally to seven, with her 200m backstroke bronze in Tokyo coming nine years after her only other medal in an individual event – silver in the 100 backstroke at London 2012.
Seebohm is now back in Australia, quarantining in the Northern Territory with the rest of the swim team before they are able to return to their respective states. As part of the COVID-19 safety measures at the Tokyo Olympics, athletes were required to return home immediately after their competition had concluded, unlike previous Games were athletes could remain in the city for the entire event.
“I think it is disappointing that we don’t get to stay and watch the rest of the Olympics, because that is something we love to do, but to be home after such a big campaign and a very small campaign with no fans, no family, its very different to the other Olympics i’ve been to,” Seebohm told Today.
“But I’m finally home, in some sun, it’s fantastic.
“It’s always a dream to go to more Olympics and once you experience one you just want more and more and more. Being to four is just unbelievable and to come away with a medal each time is just icing on the cake.”
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