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Tokyo 2020: James Guy opens up on dream gold medal

Tokyo 2020: James Guy opens up on dream gold medal
© Reuters
James Guy tamed up with double Olympic champion Tom Dean, Matthew Richards and Duncan Scott in the 4×200 metres freestyle relay.

An emotional James Guy reflected on a "dream come true" as he finally got his hands on an Olympic gold medal after helping Great Britain to victory in the men's 4×200 metres freestyle relay final.

Following his triumph in the individual event the previous day, Tom Dean became the first British male swimmer to win more than one gold medal at a single Games since 1908, but this was a team effort at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Dean started solidly if unspectacularly, perhaps feeling the exertions of his recent endeavours, and it was Guy who got Team GB into the lead at halfway before Matthew Richards and Duncan Scott closed the show in style.

Duncan Scott, Tom Dean, Matthew Richards and James Guy with their medals
Duncan Scott, Tom Dean, Matthew Richards and James Guy with their medals (Joe Giddens/PA)

The time of six minutes and 58.58 seconds set a new European benchmark and was just three hundredths of a second behind the world record still held by a Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte inspired United States 12 years ago.

It was a special moment for Guy, who won two relay silvers at Rio 2016 and finished fourth in the individual 200m freestyle event there. Having finally scaled the mountain, he was in tears by the time Scott touched the wall here.

"It's a dream come true," said Guy, who was crying in the stands the day before after watching training partner Dean become Britain's first Olympic male champion in an individual freestyle event in more than a century.

"Being a young lad I was dreaming of Olympic gold, that's all I've ever wanted in my life is to get that and now I've done it. It just shows if you've got a plan, you work hard, when you believe in yourself it can happen.

"All the early mornings, all the years of getting up at 10 past four, we're here and it's finally nice to do it.

"Hurting me most was getting fourth in Rio and obviously Tom getting gold yesterday, my training partner, I felt like I was swimming with him, that's why I was so emotional. For him to do that is a dream come true for me."

Dean's time turned out to be the slowest of the quartet but Britain still sat third and after Guy and then 18-year-old Richards helped Britain into a one-second lead, Scott put in a sensational split of 1min 43.45secs.

Scott was runner-up to Dean the day before in a historic one-two finish but the Glaswegian's effort on Wednesday made sure Britain scooped their third swimming gold at an Olympics for the first time in 113 years.

Dean, who revealed he has had coronavirus twice inside the past year, said: "It feels pretty special. Double Olympic champion sounds pretty good. The last 24 hours have been unreal, a complete whirlwind.

Tom Dean is a double Olympic champion (Adam Davy/PA)
Tom Dean is a double Olympic champion (Adam Davy/PA)

"This was our best, best, best case scenario. The way Jimmy and I have been training in Bath and the times he's been dropping, I've never had a shadow of doubt in my mind and it came together like we knew it would."

His earlier success was followed by a video emerging showing his family and friends celebrating in his hometown of Maidenhead. Asked whether his latest gold would bring more of the same he replied: "They might be. They love it."

The Russian Olympic Committee took silver, pipping third-placed Australia by three hundredths of a second, but the teams were more than three seconds behind Britain, thanks to a late surge from Scott.

"It meant quite a lot, (especially to) myself and Jimmy," said Scott, who now has a gold medal to go with his three Olympic silvers. "It was great to do it with him."

The United States had won this event at the past four Olympics but, without Phelps and Lochte, they settled for fourth.

Richards, the most inexperienced of the British quartet, spoke confidently about this being just the beginning of a dominant period in the event for his nation.

"It's an honour to have this hanging round my neck," said the teenager. "Forever now, this will be something that I can say I was part of and it will be something I can tell my kids and hopefully my grandkids about one day.

"As far as I'm concerned this is just the very beginning. This team of lads has got so much potential and the youngsters that are coming up through British swimming at the moment is just so exciting."

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Tom Dean and Duncan Scott celebrate with their medals during the medals ceremony for the men's 200m freestyle during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games
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