The United States has not lost to the men’s Olympic backstroke final for nearly 30 years.
Atlanta — When an American man last lost a backstroke race at the Olympics, 25-year-old Ryan Murphy wasn’t even born.
It’s up to him to keep the streak alive.
Murphy has already played his role in Rio de Janeiro and has swept both backstroke races to extend the run that began after the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. There, an American man settled on silver and bronze at 100 and failed to win the podium at 200.
Since then, it has been nothing but red, white and blue gold. Consecutive wins including 12 events, 8 swimmers and 6 Olympics.
For the US Olympic Trials starting Sunday in Omaha, Nebraska, Murphy claimed he didn’t feel any extra pressure to keep Streak alive.
“We’ve always been good at backstroke, so the pressure is spreading to multiple people,” he said in a recent interview in Atlanta, attending the final warm-up meeting before the trial. “It’s not rock that I make an Olympic team, so if I’m not there, someone needs to steal the mantle. Even if I’m there, someone can steal the mantle.”
But rest assured. Murphy is funding in Tokyo to help Americans extend their 20-year backstroke perfection, even after the game has been delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m motivated,” he said with a smile. “I don’t need anything else to motivate me. I’m dialing in as much as I can this year,” he said.
Lenny Krayzelburg, who won the gold medal for backstroke at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, became friends with Murphy.
They also share ties with everyone who has contributed to the winning streak that began with Jeff Rouse and Brad Bridgewater’s first back touch at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Krayzelburg handed the torch to Aaron Peirsol four years later. Aaron Peirsol wiped his back at the 2004 Athens Olympics and won another gold medal in 2008. 2012 London Olympics.
“We have a lot of pride in the history of backstroke in the United States,” said Krayzelburg. “If you’re backstroke in the United States to carry on this legacy, there’s an implicit rule. There’s additional pressure. I think we all welcome the pressure. We’re all prosperous under pressure. That’s why I think we were able to be torchbearers from generation to generation. “
Murphy will face tough challenges in Tokyo to maintain backstroke wins from Russia’s Evgeny Rylov, China’s Xu Jiayu, Australia’s Mitch Larkin, and Japan’s home country Ryosuke Irie. ..
Murphy participated in an Olympic swimming trial, with 100 of the world’s ninth fastest times and 200 of the seventh fastest times of the season.
But this is, of course, an event he builds all year round.
In fact, over the past two years, the pandemic has essentially forced Murphy and all other Olympic-aspiring athletes to resume preparations.
“It was pretty difficult when the first decision (to postpone the Olympics) was made,” he said. “But after a little rest away from the sport and it took me about a week or two to really reset, I’ve been feeling better about it ever since.”
Born in Chicago and moved to Jacksonville, Florida, Murphy is only a few months old and is currently training in Berkeley, California. He learned to accept pandemic restrictions on travel, meetings and appearance. This allowed him to train more intensively than ever before.
“I was always in Berkeley,” he said. “I never missed practice because I had nowhere else to go. That helped me a lot.”
There are some worrisome signs of America’s continued domination in the backstroke.
Murphy has failed to win a gold medal at any distance of the Olympics in the last two world championships, winning silver and bronze in Budapest, Hungary in 2017, and then two years ago in Gwangju, South Korea, finishing fourth with silver. I finished.
Then again, he performed disappointingly in the 2015 world in Kazan, Russia, joining the US team in one event and finishing fifth. The following year he stood at the top of the world in Rio.
“I now have this belief that when I really turn to my goals, I feel I can achieve them,” Murphy said. “It’s a really powerful thing given to me in 2016.”
Murphy and coach Dave Darden have tried several new training methods and techniques ahead of the 2019 world. The result wasn’t what they wanted, but swimmers believe it helps him well in Tokyo.
“We learned a lot that year,” Murphy said. “We have a lot of experiments in 2019, but that’s good. In fact, I think it’s always good to push envelopes in different ways and do things in different ways. I think We learned some things that worked for us, and we learned some things that really didn’t work. “
Murphy is trying to pull off the historic double. Since the second backstroke event was added to the men’s program in 1968, East Germany’s Roland Mattes is the only backstroker to dominate both races in two consecutive Olympics.
According to Darden, Murphy is a better swimmer than he was heading for the Rio game, but what really stands out is the spiritual side.
“He is very thoughtful,” Darden said. “If he has something to tweak or want to tweak, he gives good feedback about it. What really distinguishes him from others is that he has some degree of analyticity in what he is doing. Yes, but that doesn’t hinder his passion for racing and his passion for winning. “
Apart from the pool, Murphy is a big fan of Jacksonville Jaguar. He moved to Florida in the same year that the NFL expansion franchise started, so it feels like they grew up together.
A few years later, in a way, the team was an antithesis of an American backstroke player. He looks forward to a performance with his new coach, Urban Meyer, and his first-draft quarterback, Trevor Lawrence.
“They made a kind of bet on the head coach. Murphy said,” It’s a kind of boom or bust. ” “I think Trevor Lawrence is a little more certain than the coach, but it’s going to be sweet. Everyone I talked to, everyone is excited. The city is excited. I’m excited. I can’t wait to see it. “
But first, there is a streak to save.
For American men, backstroke is their baby.
“We are always good at it,” Murphy said. “The ones who won before are idols to me. It’s great to be part of that group. Hopefully we can keep going.”
Ryan Murphy appears to repeat as an Olympic backstroke double champion
Source link Ryan Murphy appears to repeat as an Olympic backstroke double champion