Neighbors of 17-year-old Alaskan swimmer who won a shocking gold medal tell tourists she trains with whales and sea lions
Ian MacNicol / Getty Images, Daniel Knighton / Getty Images
Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old swimmer, got shockingly excited when she won gold at the Olympics.
Jacoby comes from a small town in Alaska called Seward, where she is a local heroine.
Seward townspeople often joked that Jacoby trained with whales and sea lions.
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Lydia Jacoby shocked the world when the 17-year-old swimmer won gold too late in the women's 100-meter breaststroke in one of the biggest surprises at the Tokyo Olympics.
The win only added to Jacoby's legend in her hometown of Seward, Alaska, where locals joke that she trains in the ocean with arctic marine mammals as the town only has one pool for training.
Judy Odhner, the co-owner of a coffee shop in town, told NBC News that Seward locals can get away with telling tourists some interesting myths about Jacoby's training schedule.
"You can't believe our tiny town has a pool," said Odhner. "You'd just as well believe that Lydia trained with the whales and sea lions every day. So we did it. I mean, Lydia is a real Alaskan girl, so it's believable."
Jacoby's Seward legend won't fade anytime soon after her victory.
During the race, a crowd of Jacoby's friends, classmates, neighbors and family members watched their competition on a giant screen in a railroad terminal. As she shot past the favorite on the final stroke, the crowd exploded with excitement as she watched her neighbor, Alaska's first ever Olympic swimmer, deliver a stunning gold medal.
At just 17, Sewall is sure to see a lot more of Jacoby in the years to come. When tourists and journalists come and go in and out of town to find out where they come from, who knows what other anecdotes they'll offer?
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