South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker stunned Olympic viewers with her historic win in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. But what happened next was equally sweet.
The 24-year-old claimed both a gold medal and a new world record Friday: 2:18.95. She’s the first woman to swim the event in under 2 minutes, 19 seconds, a record set in 2013.
And by the looks of it, Schoenmaker also surprised herself. Broadcast cameras captured the moment she saw her results. Eyes wide, she lifts her arms above her head and screams excitedly before covering her face, visibly emotional.
That’s when Team USA’s Annie Lazor — who took home bronze — came over from the next lane to wrap Schoenmaker in a hug. They were soon joined by South Africa’s Kaylene Corbett and American Lilly King, who set a blistering pace early in the event and finished in second place.
Their sweet embrace is warming hearts around the world and across the internet. And fans really do have much to be excited about.
This is South Africa’s first gold medal of the Tokyo Games, and the first time in 25 years that a female South African swimmer has won one.