Great Britain's Tom Dean with his gold medal alongside Duncan Scott with his silver medal
Team GB secured their first one-two finish in an Olympic swimming event for 113 years, with Tom Dean beating team-mate Duncan Scott to gold by 0.04 sec in a dramatic finale to the men’s 200m freestyle.
Dean’s extraordinary victory also makes him the first British man to win an individual Olympic freestyle event since Henry Taylor at the London Games way back in 1908.
The last male freestyler to win a medal of any kind had been David Davies with his 1,500m bronze in 2004 but, having turned well behind South Korea’s Sunwoo Hwang, who had reached 100m at world record pace, both men powered through in the last 50m to clinch a shock gold-silver finish.
Both Dean and Scott set personal bests in the process, with the 21-year-old former European champion touching in 1min 44.22 sec to also surpass Scott’s national record.
Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer came through for third after Hwang paid for his blistering start and faltered badly down the final length.
Following Adam Peaty’s back-to-back golds – the first time that has been achieved by a British swimmer – Team GB are well on course to record their most successful ever post-war swimming performance at the Olympics. Barring no qualification problems later on Tuesday, both Scott and Dean are also going in the 4x200m relay where they will be favourites to combine for another gold.
The two British medalists celebrate in the pool
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
A lot has certainly changed in the two years since Scott took a stand at the swimming World Championship and refused to share a podium with the disgraced 200m freestyle winner Sun Yang.
“You’re a loser, I’m a winner,” shouted Yang, as he collected his gold to Scott’s bronze.
Yang is now serving a four year doping ban. And Scott, with Dean, was this morning standing on the top step of the Tokyo Olympic podium.
Scott, who only graduated from the University of Stirling last month, had come into the Olympics with the fastest time in the world this year at 1min 44.47 sec and qualified fastest for the final. Dean, who comes from Maidenhead and trains in Bath, was also considered a medal chance but had only qualified fifth fastest for the final.
THIS is what the @Olympics means!! Friends & family of @ClubMaidenhead swimmer @tomdean00 cheer the new 200m Freestyle #Olympics CHAMPION home! GOLD!!! GOLD!! GOLD!!! #Tokyo2020 @BBCSport #Swimming @BBCSouthNews pic.twitter.com/wBtpR7Yba1
— Lewis Coombes (@LewisCoombes) July 27, 2021
He had contracted Covid-19 last September and then what he calls another “ very severe” case of the virus over the New Year, but recovered to set a two-second personal best at the British Olympic trials and secure his place in the team.
Dean then paced his race superbly, turning in third place and striking over the final length. Scott had been down in sixth at the turn and also produced a grandstand finish that was just not enough to overhaul his team-mate.
As well as the 4 x 200m relay, Scott will also go in the 200m individual medley and, with Peaty, the 4 x 100m medley relay. Another former Stirling student, Kathleen Mitchell, finished sixth in the women’s 100m backstroke immediately after Team GB’s incredible one-two finish.