Modern marvel: Iron Lady Katinka Hosszu in disbelief after third gold in four days

With the disappointment of previous Games further behind her after victory in the 200-metre individual medley, the Hungarian is eyeing more gold in Rio

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2016, 4:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 August, 2016, 4:25pm

Three golds in four days. The Iron Lady sure has made up for her previous Olympic disappointments.

Katinka Hosszu won the 200-metre individual medley Wednesday (Hong Kong time) to complete a sweep of the IMs.

“Amazing,” said Hosszu, whose nickname comes from her gruelling schedule. “I honestly can’t believe I have three golds.”

The 27-year-old Hungarian came to Rio de Janeiro with five golds and nine medals overall at the world championships. But she had never won an Olympic medal, her closest call a fourth-place showing in the 400 IM four years ago in London.

“I would have been OK grabbing any colour,” she said.

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Her fourth games have been a triumph for Hosszu, who is coached by her American-born husband, Shane Tusup. The couple met as students at the University of Southern California.

Hosszu shattered the world record in the 400m IM, also claimed gold in the 100m backstroke, and held off Britain’s Siobhan-Marie O’Connor to take the 200m IM. The winning time was an Olympic-record two minutes, 6.58 seconds.

“I don’t think I had my best race, but this is what we’ve been working for the last four years,” she said.

At the 2012 London Games, Hosszu was expected to shine. Instead, she struggled on swimming’s biggest stage.

“I was so nervous, so afraid, what if I don’t win a medal?” she recalled. “Coming into Rio, I wanted to take it like any other meet. I’m really able to just be myself.”

Hosszu dropped out of the 200m butterfly during the afternoon preliminaries, wanting to put her full energy into a race that encompasses all strokes.

It worked.

“Having just one gold would have been unbelievable for me,” Hosszu said. “Having three is really just a bonus.”

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And she’s not done yet.

Hosszu still has the 200m back and 200m butterfly on her schedule.

“Katinka is having a fantastic meet,” said American rival Katie Ledecky, winner of three medals, including two golds. “She has such a wide range of events that she’s been continually improving on the last couple of years.”