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McKeon breaks through for individual Olympic gold in the pool

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Australia has added two more medals in the pool at the Tokyo Olympics after Commonwealth Games Australia alumni Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell finished on the podium in the women’s 100m freestyle final.

Eight-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Emma McKeon has won her first individual Olympic gold, and her eighth career Olympic medal and after touching the wall first in 51:96 seconds, an Olympic Record time. 

It has been quite the journey for McKeon since missing out on the London 2012 Olympic Games. 

She put the disappointment of that behind her and made it back to the United Kingdom two years later as a part of the Australian Commonwealth Games team for Glasgow 2014. 

The Glasgow Games would prove to be a coming-out party for the talented swimmer, winning six medals, including four gold and two bronze medals. 

The six-medal haul would equal a Commonwealth record for the most medals won by a swimmer, joining Australian swimming royalty Ian Thorpe and Susie O’Neill. 

Following her strong showing in Glasgow, McKeon was able to qualify for her first Olympics at the Rio 2016 Games – joining brother David McKeon and becoming the first Australian brother and sister pair to swim at an Olympics since 1960.

McKeon confirmed her rise as one of Australia’s premier swimmers by winning four medals in Rio and being one of only five individual Australian medallists at the Games.

She would go on to be the most successful swimmer at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, equalling her own record of six medals with another four gold and two bronze.

 

 

The only thing that still avoided the Illawarra native was an individual Olympic gold medal – something she was desperate to achieve at Tokyo 2020.

It took six days of competition but McKeon finally got there, winning gold in the women’s 100m freestyle. 

“I can’t believe it, honestly. It doesn’t feel real,” McKeon told Channel 7 post-race.  

“I can just feel my emotions bubbling up.

“I feel like this week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

“I know all my family are back home watching and I felt them with me in my race. All the support they’ve given me over all the years of me swimming, they’re a part of it all. 

“Mostly my coach, he’s just put in so much hard work and I honestly wouldn’t be here without him.”

The gold medal is McKeon’s fourth of these games and her 8th overall which is a remarkable achievement.

 

 

Joining McKeon on the podium was four-time Olympian and Australian Flag Bearer, Cate Campbell.

Campbell finished in the bronze medal position and claimed her second individual Olympic medal 13 years after her first in Beijing as a 16-year-old. 

Campbell will go down as one of Australia’s most decorated swimmers when it’s all said and done. 

She is one of three female swimmers to qualify for four Olympic Games (joining Leisel Jones and Emily Seebohm), is an eight-time Commonwealth Games medallist and now holds seven Olympic medals. 

“This is my fourth Olympics but only my second individual medal,” Campbell told Channel 7.

“It honestly means the world to me. 

“I’m so happy for Emma. I’m so glad that there’s going to be an Australian National Anthem echoing through this stadium and I’m so glad I get to be on the podium to share that moment with her. 

“Coming into this morning, I really wanted to put forward my best performance and that is pretty much a season’s best. To do that in an Olympic final, off the back of a very challenging year that I’ve had, I’m really happy. 

“My emotions are going to get the better of me but it’s been a really long journey to get here and I’m incredibly proud of that performance. 

“I’m so thrilled and I just want to thank everyone that stood behind me and got me to this point because I couldn’t have done it without them.” 

The medals won by McKeon and Campbell take Australia’s swimming tally to 14 medals, including six gold. 

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