Lydia Jacoby personified what makes the Olympic Games so special.
The 17-year-old from Seward, Alaska, surprised everyone on Monday night when she took home gold in the 100m breaststroke. It was one of the most exciting performances of the games, less than .60 of a second separated Jacoby from her fellow US counterpart Lilly King who won Bronze. And only .27 seconds was the difference between Jacoby and Silver medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker from South Africa.
What added to Jacoby’s performance was the reaction of her hometown in Seward. The teenager had what seemed to be the support of the entire Alaskan town.
I mean just look at how crazy these people acted when they saw Jacoby race.
“I was definitely racing for a medal,” Jacoby said following her race according to USA Today. “I wasn’t really expecting a gold medal so when I looked up at the scoreboard it was insane.”
The 17-year-old sensation has trained for years to be able to have this moment and now she is an Alaskan legend. That’s a moment that will never leave her for as long as she lives and it’s also a moment that the town of around 2,770 people will never forget either.
The young phenom is the first Olympic swimmer and 10th Summer Olympian to be born in Alaska and she is one of 11 teenagers on the U.S. Olympic swimming team. Ten of the teenagers on the squad are women.
She is also the first American woman to win gold in swimming in Tokyo.
This is what makes the Olympics so special. Through work ethic and determination, it turns individuals from places like Seward, Alaska into legendary figures.
Seeing the joy from not only Jacoby and her family but also from their small community makes this moment even more special.
This is a gold medal that will likely stay in Jacoby’s possession but it will be shared by a community forever.