Sarah Sjostrom Will Race to Defend Her Olympic Title in 100 Butterfly in Tokyo

2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games

After months of “Will she or won’t she?” speculation, Sarah Sjostrom put the question to rest by announcing her participation in the 100 meter butterfly at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. She is the reigning Olympic champion and World Record-holder in the 100 fly, but recent injuries have created hurdles for the Swedish star.

During the 2020 ISL season, Sjostrom missed a meet due to a lingering back injury. In February of this year, she broke her elbow slipping on ice. Sjostrom needed surgery to repair her broken elbow and was out of the water for four months. She told Swedish media in mid-May that she had only just begun swimming butterfly again. “I’m not as strong in my right arm, I lost almost four centimeters of muscle mass around my broken arm,” Sjostrom said, in a translation of the original Swedish. “It becomes very fluid and asymmetrical in butterfly swimming.”

Sjostrom is also the World Record-holder in the 50 free and 100 free and it was assumed she would only swim those two races in the Tokyo Olympics. Her agent confirmed that schedule on Monday. However, on Thursday, L’Equipe reported that Sjostrom said she was planning to swim the 100 fly “because I have done it for the last thirteen years of international championships.”

“It will be hard, but I’m curious to see how it will go,” she added. Recovery was “a long process. I would have liked to have had a few more weeks of training but didn’t have them. Now I’m here and my last weeks of preparation have been really good.”

Sjostrom apparently told Swedish media that her goal was to swim a sub-57 this week. She broke both the World Record and the Olympic Record in 2016 with 55.48. She is seeded 5th in Tokyo with 56.22, but that performance dates from World Championship in 2019 when she finished second to Maggie MacNeil (55.83). It will likely take a 55-mid to make the podium in Tokyo.

This will be the fourth consecutive Olympic Games in which Sjostrom will compete in the 100 fly. In 2008 at the age of 14, she placed 27th. In 2012 in London, she finished 4th. And in 2016, she won the event in Rio.

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2 years ago

Champion’s mentality.

Big Kicker
2 years ago

Safe to say a medal in this for her would be pretty incredible

2 years ago

I have the highest hopes of success for her. A class act and athlete. A tough field but if she can bounce back from a broken elbow I dont put anything past her.

2 years ago

Thanks to the likes of McNeiill, Zhang, Huske, and McKeon, I doubt she’ll find her way on the podium, but I’m rooting for her and I’m happy she feels comfortable enough with that elbow to defend her title.

cynthia curran
2 years ago

So, National Review does a hit piece on why we don’t need the Olympics since we don’t need to show off in Swimming or badminton. Well, the US is terrible in badminton. Also, one of my responses is swimming is a sport which gets athletes nation wide.Many swimmers come from places like Ohio, PA, and Minnesota as well as California or New York. Swimming started indoors in the Midwest originally.

Reply to  cynthia curran
2 years ago

National Review is a rag.

The unoriginal Tim
2 years ago

I get this mentality much more than McKeown’s. Arguably swimming three rounds of Fly when she has had a significant injury and missed training is not the best way to maximise her chance in the 50Fr. However she might just be able to pull out a medal here so why not have a crack at it.

Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Not smart.

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

I’ve picked her to win the 50 free.

Bobo Gigi
Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

Save your energy for your best gold medal chances! It’s not that complicated! 😆

Reply to  Bobo Gigi
2 years ago

100 fly is her best event. It’s her bread and butter. Why wouldn’t she swim it after going 25 mid and 57?

2 years ago

Fantastic. My idol is back. Good luck Sarah!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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