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Australia's Emma McKeon has claimed her first individual medal at the Tokyo Olympics after a heart-stopping finish in the women's 100m butterfly final.
The Aussie took home bronze after being pipped to the gold medal by Canada's Margaret MacNeil, who won in 55.59 seconds.
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China's Zhang Yufei claimed silver after finishing just .05 seconds behind, with McKeon just 0.13 seconds slower than the winner.
McKeon got off to a slightly slower start than she would have liked with China's favourite among the early front-runners.
The Aussie turned strongly at the 50-metre mark, however, and powered home in the final stretch to set up a thrilling finish.
TFW you realise you've won gold in the Women's 100m Butterfly 😲
Canadian Maggie Macneil outlasts China's Yufei Zhang and Australia's Emma McKeon to stand on top of the world in Tokyo 🇨🇦🥇@NAB | #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/VEH3IdH0vr
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) July 26, 2021
Yufei always looked to be marginally in front of McKeon, but neither swimmer seemed to be aware of Margaret MacNeil coming up on the inside.
A heart-stopping three-way finish saw the Canadian just touch ahead of her Chinese and Aussie rivals to claim the gold medal.
McKeon managed to touch just 0.01 seconds ahead of American rival Torri Huske to snatch the bronze.
“Really, I was just focusing on my race. I could see the American girl on the other side after me and I realised we were 0.01 off third and fourth to get my hand on the wall before her.”
McKeon was delighted with her performance afterwards, with the bronze representing the Aussie's sixth Olympic Games medal in her glittering swimming career.
Holy cow. Arlington's Torri Huske misses a medal by one hundredth of a second. Canada's Maggie MacNeil is gold, China's Yufei Zhang silver, Aussie Emma McKeon bronze. So tough.
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) July 26, 2021
Emma McKeon wins bronze by 0.01. Incredible. #Tokyo2020
— Laurence Rosen (@LaurenceRosen) July 26, 2021
— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) July 26, 2021
And another Aussie Aussie Aussie medal too! Emma McKeon! 🥉🏊
— CanucknotinOz 🇨🇦 🇦🇺 (@CanuckinO) July 26, 2021
Congratulations Emma McKeon on Bronze and good job Canada! pic.twitter.com/WIl2eb3NK8
— Annabelle Brayley (@AnnabellBrayley) July 26, 2021
@emma_mckeon well done bronze and PB in 100 Fly...go you good thing
— David (@David50589345) July 26, 2021
emma mckeon ❤️❤️
— rosie (@folklorrian) July 26, 2021
Swimmer thrilled after new PB
McKeon's time represented a new personal best and the Aussie remained upbeat when asked afterwards whether it was a case of “close but no cigar”.
“I think that was a cigar!” McKeon said.
“I got an Olympic medal. To do a PB in an Olympic final – I’m pretty happy – you can’t ask for more, that’s the fastest time I have ever swum.”
McKeon was of course part of the women's 4x100m freestyle relay team that claimed gold in a new world record time on Sunday.
The Australian's butterfly bronze comes on a gruelling program in Tokyo which could reap seven medals for the Wollongong-born allrounder.
She's a genuine gold chance in both the individual 50m and 100m freestyles, with more medal opportunities in three more relays.
Coached by the renowned Michael Bohl, McKeon was Australia's most successful athlete at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with a freestyle relay gold, two other relay silvers and a bronze in the 200m freestyle.
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