When Ariarne Titmus claimed Australia's second gold medal at the Tokyo Games on Monday, it sparked one of the most incredible celebrations you're ever likely to see at the Olympics.
The Aussie swimmer's coach Dean Boxall became an instant viral sensational after an almost 'out-of-body' moment of pure jubilation that created headlines around the world.
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Titmus' coach rode her epic gold medal-winning display all the way to the finish line, before roaring in celebration and maniacally shaking a rail as the 20-year-old touched the wall in front of American superstar Katie Ledecky.
Boxall's unbridled enthusiasm saw him become a cult hero for viewers all around the world but in the United States, many critics were decidedly unimpressed.
— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) July 26, 2021
American political reporter Laura Chapin tweeted: “Hey all – what the Australian coach did isn’t funny or cute. It bigfoots a woman athlete winning a gold medal and centres the attention on him. It’s vulgar and frankly offensive and he should apologise to her. And everyone else.”
It was far from the only criticism of the Aussie coach, who was accused of stealing the limelight from his own swimmer, and making the moment all about him.
“I can already foresee Titmus’ uncomfortably aggressive coach getting more media attention in the US than she does, and I am pre-emptively very, very, very annoyed by it!!” American podcaster Lindsay Gibbs tweeted.
American tennis great Pam Shriver also weighed in by saying: “Congratulations for OZ but Thank God you don’t celebrate as a coach like that.
“When the coach tried to be the show it’s (vomit emoji).”
Boxall addressed the furore around his headline-grabbing celebration on Tuesday, and revealed that the criticism from great rivals, the USA, only fuels him more.
“Nah I love it,” he told SEN radio.
“That doubt stirs me. It fuels my fire. Without that I don’t get the creative juices flowing. Doubt and having people dislike me is completely fine.
The coach says he simply couldn't contain himself after seeing Titmus do what no other swimmer had managed - defeat Ledecky in an Olympic final.
“I just lost it mate. It was five years of (hard work). You’ve punched out this plan, and to see it unfold, there’s nothing bigger. Arnie can’t represent Earth against Mars. This is the biggest for us. To see it take fold – I just completely lost it.”
Titmus triumphed in a titanic final on Monday, defeating five-time Olympic champion Ledecky after touching first in a time of three minutes 56.69 seconds.
The Aussie, in lane three, kept watch on Ledecky in lane four in what became the utimate match race between the pair.
The American held the lead for the initial 300m but Titmus was watching her all the way, literally lurking at her heels.
The young Australian ominously surged closer and was just 0.16 seconds behind Ledecky with 100m remaining.
Titmus then reeled in her rival in a perfectly-executed race plan to win by half a body-length.
Aussie 'over the moon' after realising dream
Ledecky touched home in 3:57.36 and China's Li Bingjie was well back in third position in 4:01.08.
Titmus and Ledecky will also square off in a much-hyped 200m freestyle battle, though the American is favoured to win their duel over 800m.
"I can't believe it, I'm trying to contain my emotions," Titmus told Channel 7.
"Oh my gosh, I can't believe it. This past year hasn't gone fast or slow but more than anything to get here was a relief.
"To come here and do the job, I'm over the moon."
Titmus' achievement was Australia's second gold medal of the Tokyo Games, following the women's 4x100m freestyle relay success.
Kaylee McKeown made it three golds for Australia on Tuesday after breaking the Olympic Record to claim victory in the women's 100m backstroke final.
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