Britain’s Tom Dean got here again from two bouts of COVID-19 to assert Olympic gold within the pool on Tuesday, edging out team-mate Duncan Scott to win the 200m freestyle in Tokyo.
Dean mentioned a gold medal appeared “a million miles away” when he was consigned to isolation in January after contracting the virus for the second time in 5 months.
But the 21-year-old swam the race of his life on the Tokyo Aquatic Centre to steer the primary British one-two since 1908, which was additionally the final time the staff received gold within the occasion.
“It’s amazing, a dream come true having a gold around my neck,” mentioned Dean.
“I contracted Covid twice in the last 12 months. It’s unheard of. When I was sitting in my flat in isolation, an Olympic gold seemed a million miles off, but here we are.”
Dean, whose 1min 44.22sec broke a British report, additionally wanted time to recuperate from the sickness earlier than he may resume high-intensity coaching.
“It was tough having a long time out of the water and it obviously requires a slow build-up because of the nature of the disease you can’t go straight back into full training,” Dean mentioned. “It was tough, it was a very bumpy ride.”
Dean got here from behind within the last 50m to reel in world junior report holder Hwang Sunwoo of Korea, with Scott taking silver (1: 44.26) forward of Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer (1: 44.66).
Hwang torched the primary 150m in world report tempo and Dean, positioned subsequent to him in lane six, appeared to profit as he saved in contact with the Korean, pushed previous him, after which resisted a late Scott surge to carry on.
“It’s the single greatest achievement of my life,” Dean mentioned.
Scott and Dean are roommates within the Olympic village and the pair got here into the occasion ranked primary and two on this planet respectively.
The better expectation although weighed on Scott, the highest seed who chalked up the perfect time within the semi-finals.
“Duncan and I are great mates,” mentioned Dean. “He’s an absolute class act and I’ve looked up to him for a long time. To share a podium with him is amazing.”
Scott, who received two silver medals in relays in Rio, could have one other likelihood of gold within the 200m particular person medley, which begins on Wednesday.
“Massive credit to Tom there, that was unbelievable,” mentioned Scott. “He’s a good mate out of the pool and it’s great to be able to compete against him. I’m delighted with that and I’m buzzing for Deano.”