Everything you need to know about Olympic gold-medal swimmer Ryan Murphy


Everything you need to know about Olympic gold-medal swimmer Ryan Murphy

As a kid, Ryan Murphy’s dream was to be the best swimmer in the world. That dream came true when he won the gold medal in three events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Murphy was born in Palos Heights and one of his early school assignments was to make a “dream book” about his goals for the future. In it, he wrote “I hope my swimming life continues and I become an Olympian when I grow up. I hope I will break the world records. I want to be the best swimmer in the world.”

Murphy’s path from kid with a dream to Olympic gold medalist began with a simple love of being in the water on a hot day.

“My path to swimming was just that it was really hot in the summer and so we’d go to the community pool and that’s kind of how I got my start,” Murphy said.

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Murphy’s family moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where he graduated from Bolles School. According to his Team USA bio, his rooting interests represent both of his hometowns. He’s a fan of the Bulls, Cubs and Jacksonville Jaguars.

He went to the other coast to swim at the University of California, Berkeley. Murphy already had international success with medals at the 2011 World Junior Swimming Championships and the 2011 Pan American Games. Once at Cal, Murphy dominated backstroke.

Murphy won both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke all four years of college. As a freshman, he helped Cal win the team title in 2014 and finished second each of the following three years.

Three months after the 2016 NCAA Championships, he took part in the U.S. Olympic Trials. There, Murphy booked his spot in the Rio Olympics. He won the 100 and 200-meter backstroke, earning a spot on the 4x100-meter medley relay.

At 21 years old, Murphy went 3-for-3 in his first Olympics. He won both backstroke events and helped the relay team win gold. Murphy’s 100-meter backstroke time of 51.97 seconds was an Olympic record and he set a world-record split (51.85 seconds) in the medley relay.

When he first stepped onto the medal podium in Rio, Murphy had a flashback of the kid who dreamed of being in the Olympics.

“I was thinking of my younger self watching the Olympics and what that looked like on TV,” Murphy said. “That was kind of my thought when I was up there. I was flashing back to watching the NBC broadcast.”

After winning three Olympic medals, Murphy returned to Cal for his senior year to complete his dominance of the NCAA Championships in backstroke. He has also racked up 17 medals at Worlds (seven of them gold), with nine in long course and eight in short course. Now, the 24-year-old is prepping for a return to the Olympics.

“I think the Olympics are a very powerful sporting event,” Murphy said. “It was an absolutely incredible experience being a part of it in ‘16 and hopefully, I’ll be there in 2020.”

See more from Murphy in the video above.

Tokyo Olympics rescheduled with new dates for summer 2021


Tokyo Olympics rescheduled with new dates for summer 2021

Almost a week ago, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They now have new dates set for 2021.

The Olympics have been rescheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympics will take place on Aug. 24 through Sept. 5 of 2021.

Those dates are exactly one day short of a one year delay (to set the Games to start and finish on the same days of the week) to fit in with the international sports calendar and to be able to maintain as much of the original schedule as possible.

“It is fantastic news that we could find new dates so quickly for the Tokyo 2020 Games,” President of the International Paralympic Committee Andrew Parsons said in a press release. “The new dates provide certainty for the athletes, reassurance for the stakeholders and something to look forward to for the whole world.”

The press release also noted that all athletes already qualified for Tokyo 2020 will keep their spot.

Decorated Paralympian Tatyana McFadden calls Olympic postponement 'a resilient moment'

NBC Sports Chicago

Decorated Paralympian Tatyana McFadden calls Olympic postponement 'a resilient moment'

The four-year cycle of the Olympics and Paralympics presents athletes a long runway to prepare to be at their best when it matters most. Tons of planning and work go into peaking at that time that comes once every four years.

With the Olympics being postponed, that work has been severely disrupted for the athletes involved. Tatyana McFadden, a 17-time Paralympic medalist and University of Illinois product, is one of those athletes, but she agrees with the decision to postpone the Tokyo games.

“I know a lot of emotions are happening during this time, but we are putting health and safety first and I think that’s the most important thing,” McFadden said in an interview with NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico. “When you talk about the Olympics and Paralympics, it’s the largest gathering of the entire world coming together so really the top priority is to put safety first and I have to respect that.”

McFadden won 16 of her medals, and all seven of her golds, in wheelchair track and field. She also has a winter silver medal in cross-country skiing.

Before she knew the Olympics were going to be postponed, McFadden had already changed her training routine so she could do it at home and made a gym for herself at home.

“I just tried to stay patient and stayed relaxed in a time of panic,” McFadden said. “Just doing what I needed to do and not knowing the unknown.”

Even with the Olympics officially postponed, McFadden and other athletes still have uncertainty in their lives, but she is trying to stay ready for what comes next.

“I’ve always been resilient and I’ve always fought during different parts of my life,” she said. “This is just another resilient moment that we’re going to have a little bit of a pause, but I’m going to come back stronger and better than ever. I know Tokyo is going to be putting on the best games ever next year so I’m definitely looking forward to next year and I think people are as well for watching the Olympics and Paralympics.”