American swimmer Caeleb Dressel fought back tears after setting a new Olympic record following 'really tough year'

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel fought back tears after setting a new Olympic record following 'really tough year'
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Caeleb Dressel reacts after winning gold at Tokyo 2020.
Caeleb Dressl. NBC
  • Caeleb Dressel won gold in the men's 100-meter freestyle setting a new Olympic record.

  • After the race, Dressel fought through tears to put his emotions into words.

  • "It was a really tough year," Dressel said.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel won the fourth gold medal of his career and his second at Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday night, setting a new Olympic record in the men's 100-meter freestyle.

Dressel led the race from the opening gun and held off late challenges from Australian Kyle Chalmers and Russian Kliment Kolesnikov to take home the gold - the first individual gold of his Olympic career.

NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines, who won the 10om freestyle for the United States at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, could not contain his joy watching Dressel break the record and win gold.

"HE DID IT!" Gaines exclaimed when the on-screen graphic revealed that Dressel had set a new Olympic record. "YES, SIR!"

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After his race, Dressel fought back tears to get through his post-race interview with NBC's Michele Tafoya.

"I don't know if it's really set in yet," Dressel said when asked how it felt to have won the race he had been chasing his entire career. "Right now, I'm just kind of hurting. But it's … it was a really tough year. It's really hard. So to have the results show up, it really came together, so I'm happy."

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For Dressel, it's the second gold medal of the Tokyo Games, but the first one he'll be holding on to after the medal ceremony.

After winning his first gold medal in the men's 4x100-meter relay, Dressel passed his gold medal to teammate Brooks Curry, who had swum for him in the qualifying heats of the race.

This time, Dressel will be keeping the gold around his neck.

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