Team USA Adds Two Gold Medals as Dressel Sets New Record

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
July 29, 2021 Updated: July 29, 2021

Americans added two gold medals to the country’s count in the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday morning, with one swimmer setting a new record.

Caeleb Dressel won the 100-meter freestyle in 47.02 seconds, setting a new Olympic record and finishing just six-hundredths of a second ahead of Australia’s Kyle Chalmers.

Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov took bronze.

“It was a really tough year, really hard,” Dressel, 24, of Florida, told reporters after the race. “To have the results, it really came together so I’m happy.”

The old 100-meter record was 47.05 seconds. It was set by Australia’s Eamon Sullivan in the 2008 Olympics.

The gold medal is Dressel’s first in an individual event; he has three from relays.

Team USA’s Bobby Finke also won a gold on Thursday in Japan.

Finke completed the 800-meter freestyle in seven minutes, 41.87 seconds, barely ahead of Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri (seven minutes, 42.11 seconds). Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk finished in third.

Finke blasted through the final length after being outside the top three before the last turn.

“I just really wanted to get my hand on the wall,” Finke, 21, of Florida, told reporters following the event. “I was able to switch into another gear.”

Epoch Times Photo
Bobby Finke of the United States reacts after winning the first-ever 800-meter freestyle at the Olympics, during the Tokyo Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, on July 29, 2021. (Lisi Niesner/Reuters)

It was the first 800-meter freestyle in the Olympics.

Americans took another set of silver medals in other events.

Kayle Browning, 29, of Arkansas, finished in second in Asaka shooting, behind Slovakia’s Zuzana Stefecekova.

Regan Smith, 19, of Minnesota, took silver in the women’s 200-meter butterfly, behind China’s Yufei Zhang. Hali Flickinger, 27, of Pennsylvania won bronze.

Team USA also took silver in the women’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay, finishing between China, which won gold, and Australia.

American teams advanced in volleyball. Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil made it to the women’s volleyball playoffs while Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are poised for the playoffs on the men’s side.

COVID-19 could prevent some Americans from competing as planned.

Twenty-four new positive cases, including three athletes, were detected on Thursday, organizers said.

American officials said Sam Kendricks, a pole vaulter, was one of those who tested positive.

Kendricks will no longer compete in the Olympics, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.