Presented by Donna de Varona and Ato Bolden, the Breakout Performer of the Year Award at the 2021 Golden Goggle Awards went to 17-year-old Seward, Alaska native Lydia Jacoby.
Other nominees included Bobby Finke, the gold medalist in the men’s 800 and 1500 freestyles, 15-year-old Katie Grimes, who finished 4th in the women’s 800 freestyle, and 400 IM Olympic silver medalist Emma Weyant.
Jacoby won the women’s 100 breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1:04.95, out-touching 2016 Olympic Champion and World Record holder Lilly King, who placed 3rd in 1:05.54, as well as South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker who took silver in 1:05.22, and who would go on to win the women’s 200 breaststroke in World Record fashion.
One of the Tokyo Games’ most viral moments came from Jacoby’s hometown of Seward, Alaska which celebrated her victory in the 100 breaststroke with rapturous applause.
Jacoby begins her acceptance speech by thanking the other members of the Olympic team, including the coaches and staff who “helped me along the way after Trials, I think they contributed drastically to my confidence, and it was so motivating being with everyone for those weeks leading into the Olympics.”
Jacoby goes on to describe the Olympic team as a “big family” with no generational divides, expressing comfort in speaking with both older and younger members of the team. She then says, “Yeah, I just realized I called you old!” (For reference, 31-year-old Allison Schmitt was the oldest member of the United States Olympic swimming team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.)
Jacoby finishes her speech by saying “You guys mean so much to me, and I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Jacoby’s hometown of Seward, Alaska celebrated her finish in the 100 breaststroke with rapturous applause.