Golden oldie McKeon is greedy for more Olympic success

Australia’s golden oldie Emma McKeon is adamant she can defy time, in and out of the pool.

McKeon’s swimming legacy is already assured: the nation’s most successful Olympian has a collection of 11 medals – five gold, two silver and four bronze.

But, aged 30, she admits to getting greedy.

“The highs of the Olympics in Tokyo made me want to do it again,” McKeon said.

“I just felt like I could go faster and I just had more to give both physically and mentally.

“And I still love the sport and all the wonderful opportunities it has given me, all the friendships and everything like that, and all the lessons it has taught me as well.

“It’s motivating too, soaking that up. It’s such a short part of your life, but I know this is a great part of my life as well.”

McKeon claimed four gold and three bronze at the Tokyo Olympics of 2021 – no female athlete has won more medals at a single Games.

And no Australian has more career Olympic golds – legendary swimmer Ian Thorpe also has five.

McKeon, the Wollongong-born wonder, secured a berth at next month’s Paris Games with victory in the 100m butterfly at Australia’s selection trials in Brisbane on Monday night.

With that feat, McKeon became the first Australian female swimmer aged in her 30s to make an Olympic team since a 30-year-old Lisa Curry in 1992.

“The Olympics is everything I have loved and dreamt of and watched since I was a little girl,” McKeon said.

“So it’s definitely not hard to motivate myself when there is an Olympics there.”

McKeon still has freestyle sprints to come at the Brisbane trials – she is reigning Olympic champion over 50m and 100m.

And despite her reserved nature, McKeon’s impact on younger swimmers is lauded by Swimming Australia’s head coach Rohan Taylor.

“Emma is quiet but Emma leads through example,” Taylor said.

“She does have some really close relationships with athletes on the team and she’s very good at sharing her experiences with the young ones. We create as many opportunities for the team to mix and for that to happen.

“And just Emma, the way she carries herself, that’s leadership for us and that is recognised by the whole team.

“There’s a huge respect not just for how she performs in the pool but who she is and how she carries herself.”


Steve Larkin
(Australian Associated Press)


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