Emma McKeon narrowly misses gold in heartbreaking finish

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Emma McKeon claimed bronze after a wild finish to the women's 100m butterfly. Pic: Ch7
Emma McKeon claimed bronze after a wild finish to the women's 100m butterfly. Pic: Ch7

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.

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.

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.”

Pictured here, Emma McKeon competing in the 100m butterfly final at the Tokyo Olympics.
Emma McKeon's bronze came after a new personal best time in the 100m butterfly. Pic: Getty

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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