These Athletes Brought Back Records In Addition To Medals From Tokyo
by Bob Reinert
Caeleb Dressel reacts after winning the gold medal and breaking the world record in the Men's 4x100-meter medley relay final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 1, 2021 in Tokyo.
Along with their impressive haul of medals, the U.S. Olympic Team also brought home three world records and 11 Olympic marks from the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Here’s a look at the world record-setting performers.
On his way to five individual and relay gold medals in Tokyo, Dressel shaved .05 seconds off his own world record in this event by posting a time of 49.45 seconds in the final. He touched the wall just ahead of a charging Kristof Milak of Hungary, who finished in 49.68.
“It was a super-fun race,” Dressel said. “It was faster than I thought it was going to be, which was great — it's fantastic for the sport. I'm sure it was really fun to watch for everybody. It was certainly fun to take part in.
“It hurt … but I had an opportunity, and I went for it. It doesn't matter how my body feels. I executed it well and got the job done.
“It was going to take a world record to win that event, or close to it.”
Ryan Murphy, Caeleb Dressel, Zach Apple and Michael Andrew pose after the medal ceremony for the men's 4x100-meter medley relay final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 1, 2021 in Tokyo.
Dressel joined with U.S. teammates Murphy, Andrew and Apple to set a record of 3:26.78 in this relay. It broke the mark of 3:27.95 set at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 by the U.S. Murphy started things off in the backstroke with a time of 52.31 seconds. He was followed by Andrew in the breaststroke (58.49), Dressel in the butterfly (49.03), and Apple in the freestyle (46.95).
“It was really fun competing here, and I wouldn't change a single thing,” Dressel said. “Once a meet's over, of course I'm happy, but I was also very happy when it was going on. I'm pretty over it, to be honest, so to end it with this relay like we did is so special, very special.
“I'm proud of myself. I think I reached what my potential was here at these Games. It was just really fun racing. I'll give myself a pat on the back, and then I'll just put it away and move forward.”
Sydney McLaughlin celebrates after competing in the women's 400-meter hurdles final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 4, 2021 in Tokyo.
It was truly a race for the ages. Unfortunately, only one woman could win it. In a dream matchup between a pair of remarkable U.S. teammates, McLaughlin edged Dalilah Muhammad at the finish line in 51.46 seconds, breaking her own record of 51.90 set at this year’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Muhammad, the defending Olympic and world champion, finished in 51.58 seconds, which also surpassed the previous world mark.
“It’s just amazing to bring that home to my friends and family,” said McLaughlin of the new record. “I come out here as one, but there are 10,000 behind me, and I know they are cheering and super happy right now.”
McLaughlin said she tried to ignore all the pressure on her to turn in a record performance.
“A lot of that is outside things I can’t control,” she said. “I just tried to minimize it, stayed off social media, stayed in my room, talked to friends and family and stick to what I knew I could do.
“When you have a lot of outside voices coming at you, it can alter how you feel internally. The more I can distance myself from that, the more I can stay as calm and relaxed as possible.”
What about the way the race unfolded?
“I saw Dalilah ahead of me with one (hurdle) to go,” McLaughlin recalled. “I just thought, ‘Run your race.’
“The race doesn't really start (until) hurdle seven. I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had. It's just about trusting your training, trusting your coach, and that will get you all the way round the track.”
Those three world-record performances were, of course, also Olympic records. They weren’t the only Olympic standards set by American athletes, however.
Amro Elgeziry celebrates after the 200-meter freestyle swimming heat of the men's modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2021 in Chofu, Japan.
Amro ElGeziry set the Olympic record in the freestyle swimming portion of this multisport in a time of 1:52.96. Despite that performance, he placed 25th overall.
Alison Weisz and William Shaner during the 10-meter air rifle mixed team qualification at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 27, 2021 in Asaka, Japan.
Will Shaner scored 251.6 in the men’s 10-meter air rifle, just 1.2 points short of the world record. He became the youngest American to ever win an Olympic rifle competition.
Amber English won in women’s skeet with a score of 56, defeating Italy’s Diana Bacosi, who finished in second place with 51 points. English is part of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
Vincent Hancock was nearly perfect in men’s skeet, hitting 59 of 60 targets to establish the record. He defeated Jesper Hansen of Denmark, who hit 55.
Katie Ledecky poses with her two gold and silver medals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo.
Caeleb Dressel’s time of 47.02 in the men’s 100-meter freestyle was just six-hundredths of a second ahead of defending champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia. The previous mark of 47.05 was set in 2008 by Australia’s Eamon Sullivan.
Dressel became just the third man to win the 50 and 100 freestyle at the same Games. His 50 time of 21.07 broke the mark of 21.3 set by Brazil’s Cesar Cielo in 2008.
Ledecky owns the world and Olympic records in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle, getting the latter in a time of 15:35.35. She set the world mark of 15:20.48 in 2018.
Ryan Crouser celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's shot put final at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 5, 2021 in Tokyo.
Ryan Crouser broke his own Olympic record of 22.52 meters set in Rio in 2016 with a throw of 23.30. Crouser also owns the world mark of 23.37.
Bob Reinert spent 17 years writing sports for The Boston Globe. He also served as a sports information director at Saint Anselm College and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.