Lydia Jacoby, 17, Wins Olympic Gold Wearing Her Pink Childhood Goggles
Lydia Jacoby is having a full-circle moment during the Olympic Games.
The 17-year-old won the women's 100m breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympics — and she did so while wearing the same goggles she wore as a child.
Prior to the event, former Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy — who won a bronze and gold medal at the London Games in 2012 — tweeted about Jacoby's pink goggles, which she gifted to the young swimmer years ago.
"Pink goggle watch!" Hardy, 34, wrote. "Help me cheer on Lydia Jacoby in tonight's 100 breaststroke final 7:17PM PST. Met this girl hosting a clinic at her home pool in Alaska 5 years ago & she's still racing in my goggles since. Go get em Lydia proud of you no matter what happens!"
While wearing her childhood goggles, Jacoby — who hails from Seward, Alaska — won gold in her first Olympic Games, defeating teammate and record-holder Lilly King, who took bronze. The silver medal went to Tatjana Schoenmaker, of South Africa.
"I had to take two months off due to COVID when it (the pandemic) first started," she also told PEOPLE while talking to reporters during a press conference in Japan.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, Jacoby's local, 25-meter pool shut down in mid-March 2020. She said on Tuesday she was "then able to train with the team in Anchorage, Alaska, which is about two hours from my house. I have continued to go back and forth since then."
She later explained that her family was able to rent an apartment from another swimmer's family while in Anchorage, but even there, the training pool is L-shaped, so 25 meters in one direction, and 25 meters in the other. An Olympic-sized swimming pool is 50-meters-long.
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Jacoby told reporters that she started swimming competitively at age six when her parents had her join her town's club team. Their goal was water safety, as the family owns a sailboat.
"And then I just kept doing it, all my friends did it with me, it was just a fun thing," she recounted. "Then, when I was about 12, I broke my first state record. And that was kind of when I realized that it was something that I excelled at."
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.