IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Caeleb Dressel has gold of his own, collects 1st individual gold in 100-meter freestyle

Dressel has won 3 Olympic gold medals, but it's his first for an individual event.
Image: Caeleb Dressel celebrates win, Swimming - Olympics: Day 6
Caeleb Dressel of Team USA reacts after winning the gold medal in the men's 100-meter freestyle final on Day Six of the Tokyo Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 29, 2021.Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images

Caeleb Dressel is the world champion in the 100-meter freestyle race, and as of Thursday, he’s the Olympic champion, too.

He did it in Olympic record time: 47.02 seconds.

The American swimmer now has two golds in the Tokyo Games. He earned the first with his teammates earlier this week, having raced the first leg of the victorious 4x100 free relay Monday.

Thursday was the first time that Dressel has won an Olympic gold medal in an individual event.

The Florida native had won a gold in Tokyo for the 4x100-meter relay, and he won two golds in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, both in group events.

After Thursday's win, Dressel fought back tears and said he wasn't sure the victory had set in yet.

"It's a really tough year, it's really hard. So, to have the results show up, I mean — it really came together, so I'm happy," he said.

He became emotional when speaking to his wife, Meghan, parents and others at a watch party over a video call. "Love you guys, thank you," he said.

Dressel, who was a favorite in the event, got off to a great start, took the lead and never lost it.

He defeated defending Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers of Australia, who took the top prize at the Rio Games. Dressel came in sixth that year.

Chalmers finished second Thursday. Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Olympic Committee won bronze.

The 100-meter is a relatively short race and Kolesnikov, who had also been called a favorite, was in second for much of it.

It was the second nail-biter event in swimming Thursday. Earlier, American and first-time Olympian Bobby Finke came from behind in the final stretch to win the gold in the 800-meter freestyle.

In the women's 4x200-meter relay, the U.S. team that included star swimmer Katie Ledecky won silver in a race in which the Australians were called heavy favorites.

China won the gold in an upset and Australia came in third. But Ledecky, swimming the race's final leg, overtook Australia and closed in on China.

"I wish I had another half-second in me, but I gave it my all," she said.

All three teams were under the world record. China set the new record at 7 minutes, 40.33 seconds