Ariarne Titmus has made it two from two against Katie Ledecky after winning her second gold medal in the 200m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 20-year-old Australian, who was a strong favourite going into the final against America’s greatest ever female swimmer, produced another comprehensive swim to make it consecutive dominant wins over the American legend.
It was Titmus’ second gold from two events so far, with the 4x200m medley relay and 800m freestyle still to go – where she will attempt to take two more golds from Ledecky.
The normally composed Titmus let her emotions out after winning her second gold, wiping tears away as the Australian national anthem played before breaking down when embracing her coach Dean Boxall.
Titmus, who was behind for about 150m of the race, produced another incredible final 50m to produce her second Olympic record of the meet just ahead of Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey.
‘I’m from a small part of Tassie, it just shows if you believe in something you can achieve it,’ she told Channel 7’s poolside reporter immediately after her swim.
‘I don’t think it’ll settle in till I get home. I have to compartmentalise everything.
‘I’m thinking of the relay and the 800m now.’
She said she was ‘really sad’ to hear about Sydneysiders stuck in lockdown back home and said she hopes the Australian Olympic team were bringing some joy to those stuck at home.
‘I hope we’re bringing some excitement to your lounge rooms,’ the two-time gold medal winner said.
Ledecky didn’t even medal, coming in way behind Titmus in fifth. It was the first time the American hasn’t won a medal in an Olympic final.
Ariane Titmus continues to write her name into the history books with a second gold medal – with her arch rival Katie Ledecky labouring to fifth
Titmus has made it two from two against Ledecky after winning her second gold medal in the 200m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics
The 20-year-old Australian, who was a strong favourite going into the final against America’s greatest ever female swimmer, produced another comprehensive swim to make it consecutive wins over the American legend
Winners are grinners: Australia’s new Olympic icon Ariarne Titmus smiles after winning her second gold medal of the Olympic Games in Tokyo
Titmus wiped tears away from her eyes as the national anthem played for her second gold medal.
She then broke down again as she embraced Boxall, who she described as meaning ‘everything’ to her earlier in the competition.
Her opening 100m saw her outside of medal positions, but the Aussie is known for her lightning finishes.
She and Ledecky both trailed as they came into the second half of the race, with Titmus turning on the afterburners as she turned with one change to go.
The 20-year-old turned in another incredible final 50m to claim her second gold from two events.
Her coach Dean Boxall, who went viral with his celebration after her stunning win in the 400m freestyle, couldn’t contain himself again.
The long blonde-haired swimming coach ran down the stands screaming and fist pumping as Titmus came in for her second gold.
Other swimmers and coaches cheered Boxall in the background as the colourful coach screamed for his swimmer.
Aussie Madison Wilson came eighth.
The medal takes Australia’s gold tally to six, with four coming from Australia’s superstar swimmers and two more from the men and women’s rowing foursomes.
The nation won three gold medals before midday AEST time on Wednesday alone in a memorable day in Australia’s sporting history.
The 200m and 400m freestyle were Titmus’ strongest events, but she is expected to medal for her remaining two.
Titmus, who was behind for about 150m of the race, produced another incredible final 50m to produce her second Olympic record of the meet
‘I’m from a small part of Tassie, it just shows if you believe in something you can achieve it,’ she told Channel 7’s poolside reporter immediately after her swim
Titmus’ long blonde-haired swimming coach Dean Boxall ran down the stands screaming and fist pumping as Titmus came in for her second gold
She leads 20-year-old backstroker Kaylee McKeown and the women’s 4x100m relay team of Cate and Bronte Campbell, Meg Harris and Emma McKeon as the nation’s golden girls so far.
The swim comes after Titmus’ legendary swim in the 400m freestyle where she trailed Ledecky through 300-odd metres before producing a stunning final two laps to overtake the American legend.
Titmus, who was the overwhelming favourite for the event, stormed home to snatch gold from Ledecky and end her unrivalled Olympic dominance.
It was the opening battle between the pair who’s rivalry is set to define the Games.
American broadcaster NBC pre-empted Titmus’ success, quietly sending a camera crew out to Brisbane to follow the prodigy’s preparation for the Olympics.
They were aware of her reputation and threat to the USA legend, word that hadn’t spread as far as Ledecky’s teammate Lilly King who proclaimed the USA would win every single individual swimming event – echoing the arrogance of Sydney 2000 Olympics bad guy Gary Hall Jnr.
Hall Jnr famously said USA’s 4×100 relay team ‘would smash Australia like guitars’ before Ian Thorpe hunted him down to win gold for the Aussies, break a world record and the team celebrate poolside by playing air guitars.
King quickly retracted her words after she saw the trial form of the young Aussie team, saying ‘she wasn’t trying to start anything up.’
Titmus meanwhile was going about her work, despite constantly being disparaged by her arch-rival Ledecky who would only refer to the young Aussie as ‘she’ in interviews and said ‘you don’t win medals in trials’ when told of her form.
Golden girl: Titmus beams as she holds up the gold medal for the women’s 400m freestyle
The Tasmania-born star and her family uplifted their roots from the island state when she was just 14 and already a triple age champion, with her father Steve saying they had to move north to chase her Olympic dream.
‘Tasmania does not provide the structure for a swimmer who has reached Ariarne’s level and wants to explore their full potential,’ her dad said in 2015
‘This has been a very difficult and stressful decision for the whole family, because we love Tasmania and the people, but we have no choice. The decision is also not just based on Ariarne’s swimming, but long-term opportunities for the whole family.
‘The regrets in life are not what you did, but what you didn’t do and we want to give, not just Ariarne, but also her sister Mia, the best opportunities in life, not just in sport but for their future education and working careers.’
The move was a successful one, with Titmus adding gold in the 400, favourite for the 200 and to heavily contest for the 4x200m relay and 800m.