'So proud': Kyle Chalmers' classy moment melts hearts at Olympics

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Seen here, Kyle Chalmers was all smiles after claiming silver in the 100m freestyle.
Kyle Chalmers was praised for his classy act of sportsmanship after being pipped to gold in the 100m freestyle. Pic: Getty/Ch7

Kyle Chalmers has been praised for a moment of absolute class after his heartbreaking close call in the men's 100m freestyle final on Thursday.

Australia's defending Olympic champion fell agonisingly short of creating history after American superstar Caeleb Dressel pipped him to gold by just by 0.06 seconds.

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Chalmers unleashed his trademark late surge, coming from third at the turn to draw level with Dressel.

But the American rallied to win in 47.02 seconds followed by Chalmers (47.08) and Russia's Kliment Kolisnikov (47.44).

Chalmers was bidding to do what no Australian man had done before by defending his 100m title from the Rio Games.

Despite his incredible finish, the 23-year-old was cruelly denied after falling a finger-nail short of sealing his place in history.

It would have been enough to leave many athletes completely shattered afterwards, but the Aussie was a picture of sportsmanship.

Chalmers immediately went over to give Dressel a congratulatory hug, before delivering one of the classiest runner-up interviews you're likely to see.

"To get second is amazing, to back it up after gold in Rio," Chalmers said.

"The five-year journey has been really challenging and so to get silver is special.

"But to be so close, it does hit home a little bit."

The Adelaide-based flyer was seeking to become the first Australian to claim double gold in the highly-anticipated event.

Jon Henricks (1956), John Devitt (1960) and Michael Wenden (1968) are Australia's other 100m freestyle champions.

Only four swimmers in Olympic history have won back-to-back 100m freestyle titles.

Chalmers' time was an equal personal best and the Aussie admitted that he had nothing left to give after the race.

Pictured here, Kyle Chalmers looks on in disbelief after being pipped to gold in the 100m freestyle.
Kyle Chalmers was beaten by Caeleb Dressel by just 0.06 seconds in the 100m freestyle final. Pic: AAP

Kyle Chalmers all class after near-miss

"I started well, the start felt pretty good, I felt pretty strong and comfortable going out and gave it everything I could.

"There's nothing I could have done better.

"To be half a second faster than Rio. I guess there's not many people who do a fastest time at an Olympic Games."

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Chalmers faced a bumpy path to Tokyo, having left shoulder surgery last November.

"I have had 12 cortisone injections in my left shoulder, and the surgery - and that's just on the left shoulder alone," he said.

"I have had ankle problems, three epidurals in my back, cortisone in my right shoulder.

"That's just the physical side of things.

"Everyone has challenges.

"But to stand up and go for an equal-best time in an Olympics final when it counts the most with all the pressure and expectation on me, it is special."

The swimmer's eloquence and positivity in the face of such a heartbreaking near-miss was commended by fans across social media.

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with AAP

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