'What A Shocker!': America's Double Snub Against New Aussie Champ
Young Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus beat America's darling Katie Ledecky in the Swimming World Championships, and the poor US commentators just couldn't handle it.
The eighteen-year-old Aussie -- who is originally from Tasmania but trains in Queensland -- mowed down Ledecky inside the final half-lap of the 400m freestyle in dramatic fashion.
Ledecky -- who at age 22 already has as many Olympic gold medals (five) as Australia's greatest Olympian Ian Thorpe -- had been unbeaten in races over 400m at major international meets, in an incredible streak lasting seven years.
But Titmus changed all that overnight in Gwangju, South Korea.
Known as "Arnie" or "The Terminator" by her teammates, Titmus effectively said "Hasta la vista baby", as she took control of the race with 20 metres to go and pulled away to win by more than a body length.
"My legs were just dead," a shattered and surprised Ledecky said. "Obviously, Ariarne took advantage of that. This stings a little... unfamiliar and different."
Seeing Ledecky get beaten was an "unfamiliar and different" experience from the NBC commentary booth too.
"It's just... it's a shocker," one commentator said (you can hear him in the video below).
To be fair, Americans generally use the word "shocker" in a slightly different context to us Aussies. To them, it generally means an actual shock, rather than a terrible performance.
All the same, the Americans were clearly not expecting this. As evidence, NBC's preview for the championships said: "Ledecky should face her toughest test in the 200m freestyle".
Nope. She faced it last night. And ominously for the American, Titmus said she was only going to get better in the 400m freestyle from here on.
"I never thought I would be in a situation where I would be mowing Katie down. She is such a champion... I am happy that I got the job done, I can still see room for improvement," Titmus said.
Meanwhile, her coach Dean Boxall warned that Ledecky would come back in Tokyo.
"She’ll be like a caged tiger coming out. Is it great for Arnie to win? Yeah, sure. But what does it do for Ledecky? Ledecky is still the Olympic champion, she’s the world record holder. Arnie is still the underdog," he said.