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Six months ago Tom Dean wasn’t sure whether Twins alxndr jones alxndr illustration minnie Paul shirt . he would even make it to these Olympics. Covid has affected every athlete’s preparations for the Games, but it hit Dean’s more than most. He caught it once, last September, then again in the new year, which he thinks made him the first British Olympian to have it twice. The second time was the worst, too: he was ill for 10 days, then stuck indoors in isolation, and was unable to train for the best part of a month after that. Altogether it cost him seven weeks of winter training. In those moments alone, languishing in his flat, Tokyo seemed a lot further than a 12-hour-flight away.
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“It seemed a million miles off,” Dean said Twins alxndr jones alxndr illustration minnie Paul shirt . And now here he is, Great Britain’s first Olympic champion in the men’s 200m freestyle since 1908. He won in a national record time of 1min 44.22sec. His friend and teammate Duncan Scott was a fingertip behind him, so won silver in 1:44.26. Which made it Britain’s first one-two in the pool since those same London Games 113 years ago. Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer was third.Dean and Scott are sharing an apartment in the athletes village. “We get on really well, whether we’re playing cards, watching films together, or whatever,” said Scott. “We’re mates outside of the pool first, and then we’re competitors as well.” Hard as Scott tried, he could not quite hide his disappointment at finishing second. He was the fastest man in the world this year coming into the race but left himself just too much to do in the final few metres. It helped Dean that he was in the lane inside South Korea’s Hwang Sun-woo, who covered the first 100m or so in world-record pace before he faded in the final 50m.At the same time, Scott’s disappointment was tempered by his friendship with Dean, and the knowledge of what he has been through these last few months. “It wasn’t life-threatening,” said Dean, “but when you do a sport that requires so much from your cardiovascular system and the disease is affecting your lungs, you’re coughing and all that kind of stuff, you’re a little bit worried about how you’re going to build back from it. When we’re pushing ourselves nine or 10 sessions a week, really working hard and pushing your heart rate up and everything like that, it throws a few question marks in the air about how you’re going to be able to recover.
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