All eyes were on Michael Phelps, who had a chance at a record 23rd Olympic medal, during the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay final in Rio de Janeiro, but it was Ryan Held who reminded everyone what the games are all about.
Phelps certainly played a critical role in the U.S. reclaiming the gold it lost to France in London in 2012, turning in Team USA’s second-best split in the second leg of the race and regaining the lead Caeleb Dressell lost at the wall to the defending champs during the first leg. Held and Nathan Adrian wouldn’t relinquish USA’s lead, and Phelps was able to stand at the top of the medal podium for a record 19th time.
But it was Held and Dressell’s first gold medal, and the 21-year-old Held showed just how special that moment is once “The Star-Spangled Banner” started to play.
Phelps was there to console his teammate, though.
The race was Held’s only chance at Olympic gold in 2016, as he missed qualifying for the 100-meter freestyle by hundredths of a second to Dressell in the U.S. trials.
Photo via Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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