Caeleb Dressel explains why he gave his gold medal to teammate Brooks Curry
Caeleb Dressel drew some headlines for giving his gold medal to a teammate, and he has explained his actions.
Dressel won five gold medals during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. His first gold came in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
After receiving his medal for the event, Dressel was seen giving the gold to teammate Brooks Curry.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) July 26, 2021
So what was the deal? Curry swam on the team in the preliminary round and helped them qualify for the finals. Curry’s 48.84 time was the slowest split, so Dressel replaced him in the final and swam the second-fastest split on the team.
Though he did not swim in the final, Curry still received a medal for being part of the team helping them qualify. However, prelim swimmers did not receive their medals until later. So Dressel thought it would be nice to let his teammate enjoy it for some time until he got his the following day.
“Everyone thought I was just giving my medal away,” Dressel explained in an interview with Mike Tirico. “The prelim swimmers get medals. But I had the easiest job on that relay. Normally the US takes six guys. We only took five this year. So only one guy got the boot — it just so happened to be Brooks. The fast four move on. So I had the easiest job the night before — I got to watch them on TV. They put the work in to get me a lane to be a part of that relay. So I wanted him to have his moment. I wanted him to get his medal a little earlier. I had my fun with it, I had it on the podium, and I thought he deserved to have it for a couple hours.”
Though Dressel, who is a captain on the US swimming team, was being thoughtful and respectful of Curry, Curry graciously turned down the medal.
“[Curry] actually gave it back. He said, ‘you need to take this.’ That just goes to show how Team USA works,” Dressel said.
Curry eventually got his medal. Dressel went on to win four more gold medals, thanks in part to the rest Curry helped provide him. That’s some selflessness from a couple of Team USA teammates.