How global 'blow up' rocked Boxall's Olympics

1 month ago 14
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Swimming coach Dean Boxall has lifted the lid on his now-famous reaction to Ariarne Titmus' win in the 400m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.

Boxall made headlines around the world with what become one of the most iconic images of the Games, as he celebrated Titmus' defeat of American superstar Katie Ledecky.

The yelling and screaming from Boxall caused much amusement in Australia, but in America it was met with a much different reception, with the coach accused of stealing the limelight from Titmus.

His reaction was much more muted two days later when Titmus took out the 200m freestyle, with Boxall revealing the outcry after the 400m had played a part in that.

"I felt more caged," he told Radio 2GB's Ben Fordham.

Ariarne Titmus with her coach Dean Boxall of Team Australia after winning the gold medal in the Women's 200m Freestyle. (Getty)

"It was such a blow up. People telling me I was running up and down. I actually asked our Australian management if I could go across to the other side of the pool, and (they) could put me in a room, so I could watch this race and I can move or run.

"They said we can't do that. So I actually sat with the team and I felt caged.

"It was probably a bit of a disappointment for me that I couldn't be myself."

Boxall admitted his celebrations after the 400m got slightly out of hand, albeit unintentionally.

"I went to shake it (the railing). People are telling me I humped it," he said. "I didn't hump it!"

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 26: Ariarne Titmus of Team Australia reacts after winning gold in the Women's 400 meter freestyle on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre on July 26, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) (Getty)

"I went to shake the railing, but it was still. I thought it was like a wrestling ring, but it was still, and then my hips went forward.

"It's funny, the group I coach came away with five golds, but I'm recognised as the person who humped the railing!"

That celebration didn't go down so well in the United States, with tennis legend Pam Shriver amongst those who thought it was over the top.

"Congratulations for OZ but thank God you don't celebrate as a coach like that," she Tweeted to Australian tennis coach Darren Cahill.

"When the coach tried to be the show it's [vomit emoji]."

Ariarne Titmus of Team Australia reacts with her coach Dean Boxall after winning the gold medal in the Women's 200m Freestyle. (Getty)

It's a criticism Boxall finds ridiculous.

"That wasn't over the top," Boxall said. "That was just me. The girl won, she beat the greatest. What am I meant to do? Sit down and have a cup of tea?"

"Honestly. Please."

Boxall said they had deliberately underplayed Titmus' chances against Ledecky in the 400m, but after ending Ledecky's reign in that event, any hope of keeping a low profile ahead of the 200m went out the window.

"The 400m, we went in there as the underdog," he said. "Even though we were ranked No.1, Katie was still the Olympic champion and she had the world record time."

"Once that was finished we couldn't hide away from the 200m that we were No.1, because Arnie swam an unbelievable swim at trials, that was 0.1s off the world record, and 1.2s faster than the next swimmer.

"We were going there as the hunted. It was a different pressure, you could feel it, and Arnie felt it."

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