Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak didn’t let a rip in his trunks tear him away from an Olympic gold medal. But he said it did cost him a world record.
“They split 10 minutes before I entered the pool,” he said, per the BBC, “and in that moment I knew the world record was gone. I lost my focus and knew I couldn’t do it.”
Milak had been getting ready to compete in the 200-meter butterfly final at the Tokyo Games on July 28 when the wardrobe malfunction occurred. After changing into a new suit, the 21-year-old athlete won the event, even topping Michael Phelps’ Olympic record of 1:52.03 from the 2008 Games with a time of 1:51.25. But it was his time of 1:50:73—a world record he set at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships that had been previously held by Phelps with a time of 1:51:51—that he was really trying to beat.
“It was a problem for me,” he said, per the BBC. “I have a routine, a rhythm, a focus. This broke my focus and that problem impacted my time.”
And while many Olympians would be thrilled to take home the gold, Milak wasn’t completely satisfied.
“I didn’t swim for the medal, but for the time,” he said, per The Associated Press. “I wanted to swim a personal best and a personal best for me means the world record. And that wasn’t a world record so I am a little bit disappointed.”
As for those ripped swim trunks, Milak doesn’t plan to keep them for the memory. “I still have them,” he said, per The AP. “But it’s just a matter of time.”
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