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Team USA swimmer Caeleb Dressel throws gold medal to teammate who didn’t get to compete

‘I had the easiest job last night out of everyone here. I got to watch it on TV,’ swimmer says after sitting out qualifying heats to stay fresh for final

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 27 July 2021 10:51
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U.S. Men’s Team Wins Gold In 4x100 Meter Freestyle Relay

Team USA swimmer Caeleb Dressel threw his gold medal to one of his teammates who didn’t get to compete in the final of the 4x100-metre freestyle swimming event in a show of sportsmanship.

Brooks Curry swam in Mr Dressel’s place during the team’s qualifying heats but sat out the final. This allowed Mr Dressel to remain energised for both his individual races as well as the relay final.

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After getting his gold medal and posing for pictures, Mr Dressel went over to where Mr Curry was sitting in the stands, called him down to the first row and threw him his gold medal.

“I had the easiest job last night out of everyone here. I got to watch it on TV,” Mr Dressel said after the race. “So I felt like [Brooks] deserved that a little more than me.”

Mr Curry would later receive his own gold medal but he wasn’t included on the podium during the medal ceremony in which only the four men who swam in the final took part.

Mr Dressel swam the first 100 metres for the US team in the final, giving them a lead they would never let go of. The team received their medals less than an hour later.

Mr Curry swam with Zach Apple, Bowe Becker, and Blake Pieroni in the preliminary heats. Mr Curry swam his 100 metres in 48.84 seconds, compared to Mr Dressel’s time of 47.26 seconds in the final only 15 hours later.

The swimming schedule in Tokyo, a city that’s is 13 hours ahead of the US east coast, has been flipped. This means that preliminary heats take place at night and finals are scheduled for the next morning, following urging from US broadcaster NBC, according to Yahoo Sports.

The new schedule has been an issue for some swimmers.

“This is not something that we’re used to,” US swimmer Chase Kalisz said on Sunday. Mr Kalisz won Team USA’s first gold medal on Saturday in the men’s 400-metre individual medley. ‘I’ve done it one time in my life ... If you do everything right, as far as nutrition, getting massages on the table, getting recovery in, and eat, that leaves you with six hours of sleep, max.”

Mr Curry swimming in Mr Dressel’s place during the qualifying heats allowed him to avoid similar time pressures.

“We’re never going to doubt ourselves,” Mr Dressel said after the race. “That’s how Team USA works.”

The US swimmer is also going to try to grab several individual gold medals during the Tokyo Olympics.

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