Kaylee McKeown Won Gold, All For Her Dad
By Celina Yin
Olympic swimmer Kaylee McKeown from Australia won gold in the 100m backstroke final, but all of that was for her dad, who died of brain cancer in 2020. She wanted to make her father and Australia proud, and she did.
McKeown was in third place in the first 50 meters, behind Kylie Masse from Canada and Regan Smith from the U.S. In the last 50 meters, McKeown charged past Masse and Smith and touched first. Her time was 57.47 seconds, which was a new Olympic record for the women’s 100m backstroke. Her time was 0.02 seconds away from the world record set by herself in June. Her teammate Emily Seebohm finished fifth place.
Later, McKeown said that the death of her father in August 2020, two years after he was caught by brain cancer, motivated her in the finals. “I know he is with me every step of the way. To touch that wall first, I know he’d be ecstatic,” McKeown told Channel 7. McKeown’s mom Sharon McKeown and her older sister and former Olympian Taylor watched Kaylee McKeown’s race from Noosa, Queensland. They thought Kaylee’s dad, named Sholto, was motivating and encouraging Kaylee. “Did you see the little kiss Kaylee blew to Dad at the end of the race?’’ Taylor McKeown said. Sharon McKeown cudded a Boxing Kangaroo mascot, which the McKeown family called Sholto, after Kaylee’s father.
Kaylee McKeown still has the 200m backstroke and the 4x100 medley relay, but she knows that her father will be watching over her.