On this day in 2021: Adam Peaty makes history with defence of Olympic title

By Sports Desk July 26, 2023

Adam Peaty made history on this day in 2021 by becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title.

Peaty, then 26, maintained his world dominance in the 100 metre breaststroke as he powered his way to Britain’s first gold medal at Tokyo 2020.

He had not been beaten in the event for more than seven years – he celebrated gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics – and had broken the world record five times.

At the Tokyo Games, which was delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Peaty once again left his rivals trailing as he finished in 57.37 seconds, six tenths clear of second-placed Arno Kamminga from the Netherlands.

Peaty told BBC Sport following his triumph: “It means the world to me. It is not about who is the best all year round, it is who is the best on the day.

“It is about who is adaptable and who wants it more. When it comes down to it, I am not racing for a time, I am racing myself.”

Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Kamminga and China’s Qin Haiyang remain the only other men to have swum the event in under 58 seconds.

Peaty’s current world record stands at 56.88 and when he won gold in Tokyo, he had recorded the 20 fastest times.

He went on to win a second gold medal in Tokyo, in the mixed 100m medley relay, helping to set a world record time of 3mins 37.58secs together with Kathleen Dawson, James Guy and Anna Hopkin.

Peaty, who missed the 2022 world championships in Budapest due to a foot injury, withdrew from the British Championships in April this year and revealed he was struggling with his mental health.

The eight-time world champion has since confirmed his intention to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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