Olympics: Hail The New Queen – Australia’s Emma McKeon Wins 100m freestyle Gold; Cate Campbell A Proud Bronzed Aussie

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Emma McKeon (AUS) and Cate Campbell (AUS) place first and third in the women's 100m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
EMMA's GOLDEN MOMENT: Emma McKeon congratulated by Cate Campbell, the Australians taking gold and bronze in the women's 100m freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

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Olympics: Hail The New Queen – Australia’s Emma McKeon Wins 100m freestyle Gold; Cate Campbell A Proud Bronzed Aussie

Emma McKeon has joined Australian swimming royalty today winning her first individual Olympic gold medal in a thrilling women’s 100m freestyle final with team mate Cate Campbell hanging on for a brilliant bronze.

McKeon becoming only the fourth Australian to win the blue ribbon event – now alongside Fanny Durack (1912), Dawn Fraser (1956, 1960, 1964) and Jodie Henry (2004) – in the fastest 100m freestyle in history – with any one of the first five finishers swimming faster than any previous Olympic champions.

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Emma McKeon (AUS) celebrates after winning the women's 100m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

OLYMPIC CHAMPION: Emma McKeon’s golden moment. Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher

The 27-year-old Wollongong-born Gold Coaster led from start to finish to break her own Olympic record, set in the heats, clocking a stunning personal best, the second fastest time in history of 51.96 (25.08/26.88) – also the Oceania, Commonwealth and Australian record – just 0.25 outside the world record (51.71 Sarah Sjoestroem in 2017)  – the first Australian women under 52 seconds.

Campbell, shattered after her disappointing sixth in Rio five years ago, held on for the bronze in 52.52, the Australians split by remarkable Siobhan Haughey from Hong Kong – adding silver in 52.27 – to her silver behind Australia’s Ariarne Titmus in the 200m.

McKeon, in her second Olympics, looked up at the scoreboard with a golden smile and was immediately embraced by a smiling Campbell, winning her seventh Olympic medal who said: “I’m so happy for you…”…and later “I’m so proud of you.”

For McKeon, from a celebrated Olympic family,  won her fourth medal of these Games – her second gold – having earlier winning the 4x100m freestyle relay gold with Cate, her sister Bronte Campbell and Meg Harris; bronze in the 100m butterfly and bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

She had won 24 medals at Olympics and World Championships and her 25th is her first individual gold medal – that’s a deserving gold if ever there was one.

McKeon was overcome with emotions, saying she could feel her family with her during the race and heaped special praise on her coach Michael Bohl.

“I can’t believe it..honestly, it doesn’t feel real…I can just feel my emotions bubbling up,” said McKeon after the race.

“This week has certainly been an emotional roller coaster; just getting up for your races and then trying to relax again; my emotions are a bit all over the place right now.

“I know all my family are back home watching and I felt them with me in my race. (I have to thanks them for) all the support they have given me over all the years I’ve been swimming they are part of it all.

“But mostly to my coach Michael Bohl…he has just put so much hard work in and I honestly would not be here without him….I owe him so much both personally and in my swimming so I wouldn’t be here without him..

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Siobhan Bernadette Haughey (HKG), from left, Emma McKeon (AUS) and Cate Campbell (AUS) pose with their medals after taking the top spots in the women's 100m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

NO MASKING THEIR JOY: (From left) Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey (Silver), Emma McKeon (Gold) and Cate Campbell (Bronze) can’t hide their job as bthey pose for photos on pool deck. Photo Courtesy: Grace Hollars/USA Today Sports

“And time and time again I show myself how tough I can be…and again I wouldn’t be that tough person without all the support I have behind me…”

For Campbell, who also gave her life long coach Simon Cusack a hug on pool deck, it was her second individual medal from four Olympics.

Her first came when she was just 15 in the 50m freestyle in Beijing in 2008 some 13 years ago, saying: “This means the world to me…I’m so happy for Emma, seeing her get up…I am so glad 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 and share that moment with her. …

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

“I am really happy and 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 am so thrilled and I just want to thank everyone who has stood behind me and got me to this point….because I could not have done this without them…”

And what a history-making Games it’s been for Haughey, saying: This is crazy and surreal. The 200m freestyle is always my main event, so this is just a bonus.My goal was just to go in and have fun and swim a best time and I did that, and I also got another silver medal.”

And asked what it felt  like to be Hong Kong’s greatest Olympian? She said: “I don’t know about that, but it is crazy to think that I don’t even know what to say…I’m just here having a good time, and if that also means having great results it is so much fun.”

It was Australia’s sixth gold and 13th medal of these Games – equal to Beijing in 2008 and Munich in 1972, one behind Athens (seven in 2004) and Melbourne (eight in 1956).

McKeon’s eighth medal sees her join Fraser (1956, 1960, 1964), Susie O’Neill (1992, 1996, 2000) and Petria Thomas (1996, 2000 and 2004) in an exclusive swimming club.

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Emma McKeon (AUS) celebrates on the podium after winning the women's 100m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

WINNING WAVE : Emma McKeon – Olympic Gold Medallist – has the ultimate ring to it. Photo Courtesy: Grace Hollars/USA Today Sports

Emma McKeon’s father Ron McKeon swam in Moscow in 1980 and LA in 1984; Uncle Rob Woodhouse (bronze medallist 400IM in 1984) and brother David McKeon (London 20912 and Rio 2016, alongside Emma) in a remarkable Olympic history.

The women’s 100m freestyle has been such an iconic event in the annals of Australian Olympic swimming history – with the first ever women’s swimming event over 100m freestyle won by Sydney’s Sarah “Fanny” Durack.

And in a memorable day, Durack’s best friend and rival, “Mina” Wylie, won the silver – a quinella to Australia in the first swimming event in an Olympic Games and a major first for women in sport not only in Australia but around the world.

Australia has won the event on five occasions – 1912 to Durack, who was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1967; three times in a history-making three peat to Dawn Fraser in 1956, 1960 and 1964 and in Athens 40 years later to Jodie Henry.

Australia’s last medallist in the 100m freestyle came in Beijing in 2008 to Libby Trickett – beaten by Germany’s Britta Steffen.

Jul 30, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Cate Campbell (AUS) celebrates after finishing third in the women's 100m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

THE EYES HAVE IT: cate Campbell, a bronze Aussie in the 1200m freestyle and so so proud of it. Photo Courtesy: Grace Hollars/USA Today Sports

It’s the second time Australia has had two medallists in this event – the first in 1912 and the second in 1956.

Not only the fourth medal of these Games by McKeon but her eighth medal overall (after her four in Rio in 2016) – one behind Australia’s greatest medal winners – Ian Thorpe (2000, 2004) and Leisel Jones (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012) both with nine.

Thorpe and Shane Gould share the Australian record honour for the most medals at an Olympic Games with five each – Thorpe from Sydney 2000 (three gold, two silver) and Gould from Munich 1972 (three gold, one silver, one bronze).

McKeon and Campbell both have three more events – the 50m freestyle and the 4x100m Mixed and 4x100m medley relay as they both bearing down on their own a slices of Australian Olympic history.

Canada’s Penny Oleksiak just missed her seventh Olympic medal by finishing fourth in a Canadian record 52.59. World record holder Sarah Sjostrom was sixth in 52.68.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 51.71 (2017)
  • Olympic Record: Emma McKeon, Australia, 52.13 (2021)
  1. Emma McKeon, Australia, 51.96
  2. Siobhan Haughey, Hong Kong, 52.27
  3. Cate Campbell, Australia, 52.52
  4. Penny Oleksiak, Canada, 52.59
  5. Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden, 52.68
  6. Femke Heemskerk, Netherlands, 52.79
  7. Anna Hopkin, Great Britain, 52.83
  8. Abbey Weitzeil, United States, 53.23

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