As Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hossu prepares for her fifth Olympics, the three-time gold medalist says her goal for Tokyo is to “enjoy the moment.” After making his Olympic debut in Athens in 2004 and competing in Beijing in 2008, he missed the stage at the 2012 London Games, surpassing all expectations.
But after four years in Rio, Hossu won three gold and one silver and secured his place as one of the best swimmers in the world.
The 32-year-old, nicknamed the “Iron Lady”, plans to compete in the 200m and 400m individual medley events in Japan, the 200m backstroke and the 200m butterfly.
“I really want to be in Tokyo and feel the Olympics without worrying too much about the final result. Stay there,” Hossu told AFP.
“I realized I wasn’t really there, I didn’t have the emotions to win a gold medal because I was immediately thinking about the next event.
“So, I didn’t really enjoy the moment of stepping on the stage, or listening to the anthem because I was already wondering what to do for the next race.”
Comrade Christina Ekerzeki, who won five individual gold medals in three consecutive games between 1988 and 1996, said Hosso was her hero when she was growing up.
In Rio, Hossu broke the world record in the 400m medley and the Olympic record in the 200m medley, as well as winning gold in the 100m backstroke.
But he declined to say whether he could win gold medals in Tokyo or thwart Ekerzeji’s journey.
“I will definitely give what I have and I am going to enjoy that moment of celebrating my results,” he said with a smile.
Like his accomplishments in the pool, Hoss is a pioneer in the sport.
She makes a name for herself in swimwear under the “Iron Lady” brand, hosts live conferences with her troops on Facebook, and is one of the top swimmers behind the Professional International Swimming League (ISL).
The biggest moments that traditionally come at the Olympics and World Championships are a team-based competition format designed to shake up swimming and elevate the profile of the sport.
“I am very proud to be a part of the ISL as one of the team owners and try to show that swimming can be professional,” Hossu said.
“We have a league now. Because we work a lot harder, swimmers have to be elite athletes.
“I think swimming can be very exciting, so changing the shape of swimming competitions can help show visitors that coming to a swimming meet is fun, like going to a football game.”
But for now, Hoss will set aside his broader ambitions to focus on pursuing more Olympic glory in Tokyo.
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