Olympic Swimmer Says Wardrobe Malfunction Cost Him World Record in Tokyo: 'I Lost My Focus'

The 21-year-old tried to break his own world record in the 200-meter butterfly final on Wednesday but said a tear in his shorts left him distracted

Kristof Milak
Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty

Minutes after tearing his swimming shorts at the Tokyo Olympics, Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak came up just short in his attempt at setting a new world record.

The 21-year-old was hoping to break his own world record in the 200-meter butterfly final on Wednesday but said a tear in his shorts caused him to become distracted leading up to the race.

"They split 10 minutes before I entered the pool and in that moment I knew the world record was gone. I lost my focus and knew I couldn't do it," Milak told the BBC.

After changing into a new pair of trunks, Milak won the race by more than two seconds. He finished with a time of 1:51:25, which broke an Olympic record previously held by Michael Phelps.

But, as Milak explained, he wanted to break his world record (1:50:73), which he set in 2019, during his Olympic race at the Tokyo Aquatics Center on Wednesday.

"It was a problem for me. I have a routine, a rhythm, a focus. This broke my focus and that problem impacted my time," he told the outlet. "I wasn't swimming for the medal, I was swimming for the time."

"I said earlier I wanted a personal best," he continued. "And my personal best is a world record."

Despite taking home the gold, Milak won't be keeping his ripped shorts as a souvenir.

"I still have them," he told reporters of when he plans to throw them away, according to the Associated Press. "But it's just a matter of time."

Wardrobe failures are nothing new to the Olympics. In 2018, at the PyeongChang Games, French ice dancers Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis finished in second place after Papadakis' costume came undone for much of their routine.

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"It was my worst nightmare happening at the Olympics," Papadakis said at the time. "It happened in the first few seconds [of the routine]. I told myself I didn't have a choice; I have to keep going."

"I think we should be proud we were able to deliver a strong performance with that happening. I felt it right away, and then I prayed. That is about all I could do."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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