Monday at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics saw Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus win gold in the 400-metre freestyle event, but she was almost overshadowed by her coach’s over-exuberant celebrations in the stands.
Dean Boxall seemed to be possessed by the swimming gods as he was overcome with excitement when Titmus managed to beat the high favoured Katie Ledecky of Team USA, who came in second, with China’s Li Bingjie finishing third.
The US commentators didn’t quite know what to make of it as Boxall strutted along the corridor and was even compared to Mick Jagger and Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
However, not everyone was a fan of the celebrations with several Americans taking offence to Boxall’s exuberance. Author Laura Chapin reportedly tweeted: “What the Australia coach did isn’t funny or cute. It bigfoots a woman athlete winning a gold medal and centres the attention on him. It’s vulgar and frankly offensive and he should apologise to her and everyone else.”
Others shared this point of view.
I can already foresee titmus’s uncomfortably aggressive coach getting more media attention in the US than she does,… https://t.co/ubwU2r54Oy
When asked about the celebration by Channel 7, Boxall wasn’t about to apologise and explained that he “just lost it” adding: “That’s a moment of being with this girl for five years and having a dream together.”
“The Americans might not like it, I don’t know. But I bleed with my athletes.
“When they leave the pool deck with me, they go and start the recovery process and go home. I don’t ... I go home and dream for them. I go home and try to find a way for them to get better. I don’t turn off, so that’s why I got emotional”
Speaking after her win, Titmus complimented Boxall, who is apparently not a very emotional man: “He means everything to me. It was actually hard to contain it. I could see Dean on the other side bawling his eyes out. You don’t see that that often so that made me want to tear up.”