American swimmer Bobby Fink had a layoff for him heading into the final round of the men’s 800m freestyle final.
He was fifth for most of the 16 lap races.
Then he jumped from behind in the final 50 metres.
“I noticed 10 meters away I was hitting a bit of ground and that was the only motivation I needed to try to pass and put my hand on the wall first,” he said following the race.
The 21-year-old from the University of Florida took nearly a second and a half – which could also be for life – to outrun other swimmers and triumph the race in a thrilling finish.
He beat Italian Gregorio Paltrinieri by less than a quarter of a second, smiling and punching his fist as triumph approached.
Finke entered the Olympics as a lengthy run for a medal in the event, which was his Olympic debut.
He told reporters that prior Tokyo, his best time in the 800m was about five seconds slower than the time he retired to qualify for the final.
And today, “I left another second. I had no idea I was going to do that.”