EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) It was another fantastic run for Lilly King in the Olympics, the Evansville native returns home with three medals. Two silver, and a bronze. Lilly joins us now via zoom. Lilly, first of all, congratulations on another great showing in the Olympics. You have made the entire city of Evansville proud. Once again.
Thanks. Yeah, it was it was a you know, good old meet, obviously would have loved to come home with a couple of golds. But you know, three more medals to add my collection is nothing to be ashamed of and had a really good time .
Now Tokyo obviously much much different than what you had to go through in Rio a few years ago with all the COVID restrictions. How different how difficult how unique was it to to be participating in the games, without any fans?
Oh, yeah, it was definitely a little strange. I noticed the Olympic rookies didn’t have as much trouble kind of getting up and getting ready for their finals as the rest did but, you know, I think the entire heat was going through the same thing. And it was definitely a little strange walking out for an Olympic final and an empty arena was silence. But we still got some good racing in and it still felt like a pretty normal heat. Other than that.
What was daily life, like in the Olympic village with all the COVID restrictions that you guys have to go through daily testing, just kind of walk us through walk us through what it was like for you guys?
Honestly, the village wasn’t really that different than any other village I’ve been in before. Um, other than the fact that when I woke up, I had to take a COVID test. And then I just had to wear a mask everywhere. But other than that it was still really normal. I mean, we all got to eat in the dining hall together and still got to like trade pins and interact with other athletes. So that part of it luckily wasn’t wasn’t too different for me.
What type of pressure Did you feel going into these games? Of course, you won gold and Rio and the 100 your bread and butter event? You were the heavy favorites going in this year? Did you feel all the pressure? Or were you just kind of you know, kind of played that off and relaxed and calm going into all of your events this year?
I wouldn’t say it was it was pressure, more of just expectations from people around me and myself and my coaches. But yeah, I mean, definitely, it definitely gets to a little bit when you’re riding over to the pool. And you know, you might not be feeling your best and you see it a graphic that says Lilly King goes for repeat Gold. So it’s always you know, it’s always very interesting, just dealing with the pressure of dealing with the media that surrounds the Olympics, because it’s just so much so much bigger than you know any other meet that we have. But I think that’s just part of the sport.
You said in Tokyo before you left to come back to the States, and correct me if I if I have any of this wrong that the United States you don’t feel like celebrates anything other than gold the way that Americans should? And I think you’re right, could you elaborate on that a little bit?
Yeah, and it’s not necessarily not celebrating silver and bronze, but I think more so referring to those medals is settling. And, you know, I feel like I can speak from a lot of different different, you know, places in the sport, because I pretty much done at all this point, you know, having those two golds and Rio and then having a silver that I was really happy with and a bronze that I wasn’t so happy with. It’s one where I was so excited after that silver medal, and it was such a great race, it just such a great heat overall, that I felt like when I was being asked if I settle that just was, you know, it just wasn’t right. And, you know, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to have that gold medal moment, but a lot of other athletes will never get that chance and that that silver medal or that bronze medal is the greatest moment in their career. So I really felt like something needed to be said, and that we need to celebrate those a little bit more.
You know, I think you’re exactly right. I mean, if you’ve got a silver at second best in the world, bronze, third best in the world, those are still unbelievable accomplishments. And by the way, well done. On that again, this year, of course Olympians are in the spotlight. Seems like once every four years. What’s the life of an Olympian in between the Olympics? I’m assuming a lot of training.
Yeah, pretty much. It’s pretty much nonstop. I got back into water last Wednesday. So I took four days off. But yeah, just kind of kind of back to training back to racing like we normally would and get ready for the meet next summer.
What’s next for you?
Italy in two weeks for some more racing. So. So I’m back in the water real quick.
All right, as always, really appreciate your time. Thanks so much for checking in with us. Congratulations, as I said at the top on another outstanding run in Tokyo and I know everybody in Evansville will continue to follow you and hopefully you even better things hard to top gold for Rio a few years ago. You had a fantastic run again this year, but hopefully even better things are so in the future.
All right. Thanks so much, Lilly. Eyewitness News at Nine will be right back.
(This story was originally published on August 10, 2021)