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Swimming

Tokyo Olympics: Sarah Sjöström returns from injury in unbelievable time and succeeds

Despite being written off due to her elbow injury, Sjöström is confident about booking her spot on the podium at the Tokyo Olympics

Swimmer Sarah Sjöström
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Sarah Sjöström returns from injury to find a place on the podium in Tokyo (Source: Mike Lewis/Ola Vista Photography)

By

Naveed Mohammed

Updated: 2021-07-25T14:01:25+05:30

Her compatriots call her 'Gold Bae', not for the yellow from the Swedish flag, but for the colour of medals Sarah Sjöström usually wins when she comes off the diving board. The Swedish freestyle Queen, Sjöström, was her nation's superstar at the Rio Olympics in 2016, where she grabbed a medal of each colour, gold, silver and bronze in 100m fly, 200 m freestyle and 100m freestyle, respectively.

Sjöström, competing in her fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo, wasn't sure she would ever swim again just a few months ago. She fractured her elbow in February after slipping on the ice while visiting a friend.

All seemed lost as she had to undergo surgery to fix her elbow, which required a metal plate and six screws. "When I started swimming again after my surgery, I was like, I'm never ever going to swim again. I couldn't physically take a stroke in the water. My arm just couldn't do anything. It's great to do this kind of comeback," she told Swimming World Magazine.

Sjöström went through the long process of rehabilitation before she could get into the pool. Due to less movement during the resting period, Sjöström lost 4 centimetres of mass in her injured arm due to atrophy. Not only does the loss of mass effect her overall speed, but it also affected her balance which is crucial in the butterfly event. Sjöström was clocking over 57s in 100m fly before the Olympics putting her in a dilemma of whether to enter the butterfly event or not.

However, normalcy resumed once Sarah took to the pools in Tokyo. She finished third in Women's 100m Fly on Day 1 and on Day 2, Sarah finished second behind China's Zhang Yufei in the semi-finals!

Sjöström, the reigning Olympic Champion in 100m butterfly, has the most individual World records amongst women to her name. She is the World record holder in 50m, 100m freestyle, and 50m, 100m butterfly events. After finishing third in her heat with a 56.18s in 100m fly, Sjöström broke her personal goal of getting under 57s. Sjöström's time in the heat was her best since the 2017 World Championships. Apart from the 100m fly, Sjöström will also participate in 50m, 100m freestyle and 100m freestyle relay in Tokyo.

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