Ian Thorpe's telling reveal after Emma McKeon boilover at Comm Games

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·Sports Editor
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Mollie O'Callaghan, pictured here after her victory over Emma McKeon at the Commonwealth Games.
Ian Thorpe said he saw Mollie O'Callaghan's victory over Emma McKeon coming. Image: Getty

Aussie swimming legend Ian Thorpe says Mollie O'Callaghan's shock victory over Emma McKeon in the 100m freestyle final at the Commonwealth Games was easy to predict.

You just had to be looking in the right places.

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McKeon won gold in the event at the Tokyo Olympics last year, but had to settle for bronze on Tuesday night behind O'Callaghan and Shayna Jack.

The 18-year-old O'Callaghan stormed past two esteemed compatriots to be crowned the Commonwealth's queen of the 100m freestyle in remarkable scenes.

McKeon added two more medals on Tuesday night for a career haul of 19 - becoming the most decorated athlete in Commonwealth Games history.

But it was O'Callaghan who stole the limelight in McKeon's pet event.

While fans were left shocked that McKeon didn't win, Thorpe said there were a number of hints that O'Callaghan was primed to pounce.

The 18-year-old had earlier pulled out of the 50m butterfly and a number of relay events after she was originally scheduled to compete in four.

Speaking on Channel 7, Thorpe said the reduced schedule was all part of a plan to dominate the 100m freestyle.

“We have seen her compete so very well throughout this competition,” Thorpe said.

Shayna Jack, Mollie O'Callaghan and Emma McKeon, pictured here after the 100m freestyle final at the Commonwealth Games.
Shayna Jack, Mollie O'Callaghan and Emma McKeon pose with their medals after the 100m freestyle final at the Commonwealth Games. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“We spoke at the 200m (freestyle) when she was just behind Ariarne (Titmus), she’d also withdrawn from a few events.

“If you are watching what was going on, she was preparing herself for this 100m freestyle up against Emma and Shayna.

“This is the one where her team saw there was an opportunity, blood in the water, and the chance to take a medal from someone who’s been so tremendously successful across many events.

“Well done to Mollie O’Callaghan for being able to seize the opportunity.

“Shayna Jack also swimming well. Well done to the Australians, all three on the podium.”

Fans picked up on Thorpe's comments and were quick to point out the Aussie legend's insight into the sport he once dominated.

Ian Thorpe, pictured here speaking to Cody Simpson at the Australian swimming championships in April.
Ian Thorpe speaks to Cody Simpson at the Australian swimming championships in April. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Ian Thorpe hails Mollie O'Callaghan after victory

Thorpe also pointed out that O'Callaghan's nervous mannerisms before the race were a telling sign.

“What was interesting, right before the race, was watching Mollie O’Callaghan put on her goggles. Her hands were shaking,” he added.

“And everyone would think it is just nerves. Yes, you are nervous but you are also anxious and to perform well, you have to have your anxiety up to a level where it is not too much to be overwhelming but it is enough to get you over the line.”

O'Callaghan said after the race: “I’m really happy, and I’m happy to do it alongside these amazing girls, especially Emma, like she’s an absolute idol, so it’s really nice to race alongside her.

“And especially Shayna Jack too, coming back from worlds (world championships) and stuff, so I’m very happy.”

Australia won six gold, six silver and five bronze medals on a glittering night in the pool in Birmingham.

O'Callaghan, her fellow 18-year-old Elizabeth Dekkers, Ariarne Titmus, para-swimmers Colin Pearse and Jasmine Greenwood, and the nation's 4x100 mixed medley relay team all triumphed.

The Dolphins now have 22 gold medals at the Games. With nine more on offer on the last night at the pool, they could yet surpass the swim team's record of 28 golds at the Gold Coast Games four years ago.

with AAP

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