McKeon's 'embarrassing' problem after heroics

2 months ago 24
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Emma McKeon whitethorn beryllium connected a steep learning curve with abrupt superstardom - her manager reckons that she finds fame "embarrassing".

McKeon rewrote the grounds books astatine the Tokyo Olympics. She became the archetypal Australian to triumph 4 golden medals successful a azygous Games and the astir decorated Olympian successful the nation's history, with 11 medals from 2 campaigns. Her 7 medals successful Tokyo were the astir ever won by a pistillate swimmer astatine a azygous Olympics and the equal-most by immoderate pistillate athlete. She became lone the 3rd pistillate to triumph the 50-100 freestyle double.

They are titanic achievements, from idiosyncratic who is present being hailed arsenic arguably our top swimmer. Fellow golden medallist Ariarne Titmus was seen regularly connected tv up of and during the Games, a lofty presumption successful swimming that should beryllium afforded McKeon. Like Kieren Perkins, Susie O'Neill and Ian Thorpe earlier her, she could go a monolithic mainstream figure; yet is simply a wholly unassuming personality.

"She's a precise unsocial individual, Emma, she's precise humble and precise quiet," coach Michael Bohl told RadioTAB Australia.

"It's precise unusual; astir apt successful the Susie O'Neill benignant of mould. She's 1 of these radical that, she gets a small spot embarrassed with the notoriety that she receives. She's precise humble."

Gold medalist Emma McKeon of Team Australia poses during the medal ceremonial for the Women's 50m Freestyle Final. (Getty)

While McKeon isn't an outsized personality, she has fierce expectations of herself. Bohl said that her world-beating Tokyo run was inspired by a comparatively humble Rio 2016 haul, successful which she won conscionable 1 idiosyncratic medal.

McKeon surpassed Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones connected Australia's all-time Olympic medal tally successful Tokyo yet she was not initially of their ilk; not a teen phenomenon. Success connected the satellite signifier came down to a agelong play of hard work.

"She's a large athlete. She was coached initially by her begetter (Ron) down successful Wollongong and she benignant of reached the constituent successful her vocation wherever she and her begetter felt that she had to determination on, to benignant of research what she could do," Bohl said.

"She moved up to Queensland astir 5 oregon six years agone and she astir apt struggled a small bit, racing astatine the planetary level.

"She's 27 years of property present and I deliberation the past 7 oregon 8 years that she's been connected the Australian team, she's conscionable truly grown and developed each twelvemonth she's been connected the team.

"We reached a constituent astatine the past Olympics successful Rio wherever she performed truly well, she came distant with 4 medals; 1 individual, successful the 200 freestyle, and she got 3 medals successful the relays there.

"I deliberation she wasn't peculiarly blessed with her idiosyncratic races successful Rio. She was moderately blessed with the 200 freestyle but she was truly dissatisfied with the 100 fly.

"I deliberation that, whether you privation to telephone it a failure, but her not swimming up to her imaginable successful Rio has been the catalyst for what we've seen hap successful Tokyo."

Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown and Chelsea Hodges observe Australia's ninth swimming golden medal astatine the Tokyo Olympics, successful the 4x100m medley relay. (Getty)

McKeon was a 200m specializer but began to plateau astatine the distance; close arsenic her 100m freestyle became quicker. She knew that she was a superior menace astatine the region erstwhile she began to bushed Cate Campbell successful the lead-up to Tokyo.

In January, she reduced her swimming measurement and deed the gym to go stronger, with a presumption to ruling the 50-100 races. She maintained that spot close until the last contention of an astonishing Games.

For Bohl, the occurrence was particularly sweet. He swam with Ron McKeon during his ain competitory vocation and the 2 are long-time friends.

"It's thing other peculiar to spot a bully mate and 1 of their household person 1 of their ain get up astatine the Olympics and execute truthful well," helium said.

McKeon present boasts 5 Olympic golden medals successful total, the joint-highest for an Australian alongside Thorpe. Heady institution so and she whitethorn adhd to her haul further, with the Paris 2024 Olympics successful conscionable 3 years' time.

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