The US took its first Olympic gold for 2020 today when swimmer Chase Kaliz came home first in the men’s 400m individual medley.
The 27-year-old, who had to settle for silver five years ago in Rio, realized his Olympic dream at the Tokyo Aquatics Center in front of a handful of supporters and teammates with the public suspended due to Covid fears.
It was a sensational performance from the. Swimmer who was paralyzed for a short time as a child.
Chase, from Athens, Georgia, was home first in a time of 4 minutes 9.42 seconds, beating his teammate Jay Litherland who had to settle for silver.
The bronze went to Australia’s Brendon Smith.
Chase Kalisz won the men’s 400m individual medley final in a stunning one-two for Team USA
Kalisz of Team United States competes in the final of the men’s 400m individual medley on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Center
First Lady Jill Biden Applauds US Chase Kalisz as He Won the Gold
Sitting alone in the stands, she applauded as Kalisz competed in the men’s 400m individual medley swimming at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Chase started swimming at the age of five and was involved in several sports before concentrating on swimming.
He said, “I played pretty much every sport up to high school — football, basketball, lacrosse, swimming. I was terrible at football.
“(I was) pretty good at lacrosse, basketball I never really focused on, I don’t know why, my dad played basketball in college, but basketball just never really did it for me.
“Swimming was always my year-round sport and the others were more seasonal.
However, he comes from a family of swimmers, with three siblings who share his passion for the sport.
It was a sensational performance from the. Swimmer who was paralyzed for a short time as a child. Kalisz poses with his gold medal after winning the final
(From left) Bronze medalist Jay Litherland of the US, gold medalist Chase Kalisz of the US and silver medalist Brendon Smith of Australia pose with their medals after the men’s 400m medley swimming final
Chase, from Athens, Georgia, was the first home in a time of 4 minutes 9.42 seconds, beating his teammate Jay Litherland who had to settle for silver
Chase started swimming at the age of five and was involved in several sports before concentrating on swimming. This weekend he fulfilled his dream of winning gold
His older sister Courtney competed in swimming for the University of Southern California and nationally, including the 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympics.
His younger sister Cassidy has represented Louisiana State University in swimming, and his younger brother Connor has represented Florida State University. Both competed in the 2016 US Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
He trains with his silver medal American swimmer Jay Litherland, a member of the Dynamo Swim Club, which is also based in Georgia.
He cites his former training partner and Olympic legend Michael Phelps as a key role in his mental toughness career.
The 27-year-old, who had to settle for silver five years ago in Rio, realized his Olympic dream at the Tokyo Aquatics Center in front of a handful of supporters and teammates with the public suspended over Covid fears.
(LR) Chase Kalisz of Team United States, Brendon Smith of Team Australia and David Verraszto of Team Hungary compete in the final of the men’s 400m individual medley on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
He cites his former training partner and Olympic legend Michael Phelps as a key role in his mental toughness career
Team United States’ Kalisz celebrates after winning the men’s 400m individual medley on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Chase Kalisz, left, of the United States, celebrates with teammate Jay Litherland after winning the men’s 400m medley final
Kalisz trains with his silver medal-winning American swimmer Jay Litherland, a member of the Dynamo Swim Club, which is also based in Georgia
The friends and participants celebrated winning gold and silver on the second day of the Games in Tokyo
“I could list a billion things for you that I learned from Michael and got from him that virtually no one else in the world has, so I was very lucky.
“I couldn’t imagine a better training situation for someone who is going to college and wants to become a professional swimmer, who wants to become an Olympian, than to be able to be his training partner.
“The most important thing I learned from him was probably mental toughness. It’s a big factor in swimming and there are many people who are significantly more talented than the best swimmers in the world but they just can’t really put it together for various reasons, it’s a stressful sport and you focus on one day [at the Olympics] for four years.’
With age, Chase had to crawl down the hallway of the family home to tell his parents that he could barely move his arms or legs.
At first they thought he was feeling the effects of a 5km race he had driven the day before.
However, his condition worsened and he was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. He was semi-paralysed, but after therapy and rehabilitation, he was able to swim six months later and made a full recovery and today he took a big step further.
Jay, 25, finished fifth in the same event in Rio and was overjoyed to take his first Olympic medal in Tokyo.
He also had to overcome a childhood illness before developing into a top swimmer.
He and his two brothers, who are all triplets, were born two months early due to breathing problems, so their parents encouraged them to take a swim to strengthen their lungs.
“We just loved the pool and water in general whenever we were in it. When we lived in California, we had a pool in our backyard, and when we moved to Miami, our parents signed us up for swimming lessons.”
He and his brothers have three different passports, with citizenships in the United States of America, Japan, and New Zealand.
The brothers were born in Osaka, Japan, to a Japanese mother and a New Zealand father.
After Japan, the family moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, before coming to the United States of America in 1999.
They lived in California and Florida before settling in Georgia. As the family moved, swimming became a way for the brothers to find friends in new places.
His brothers first tried to qualify for the New Zealand Olympics, but that was not an option for him as he had already represented the United States of America in international competition.