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Ahmed Hafnaoui had the swim of his life at just the right time on Sunday. After eeking into the men's 400-meter medal race in last place out of the eight finalists, the 18-year-old swimmer from Tunisia shocked everyone by taking home the gold in the event at the Tokyo Olympics.
Prior to the semi-finals, Hafnaoui wasn't even listed in the DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning list, so the fact that he overtook the Australian favorites to win was extra impressive. Australia's Jack McLoughlin won the silver and American Kieran Smith took home the bronze, and though the race was close, it wasn't that close by swimming standards. Hafnaoui was the fastest swimmer, hands-down, after being the slowest of the finalists just the day before.
This, as they say, is why they play the games.
And this footage of Hafnaoui's loved ones in Tunisia reacting to his epic win is why everyone loves an underdog.
In a video originally shared by Tunisian sports news channel ETTACHKILA, Hafnaoui's family is heard cheering and screaming as they watch him swim in medal contention throughout the race. But as they watch him retake the lead in the final stretch and touch the wall first, their joy is palpable. (Definitely want the sound up for this—just maybe not too high.)
This will give you goosebumps. 18-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui's wasn't given a prayer in the men's 400m freestyle fina… https://t.co/ZlCxmcTrXB— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE)1627308300.0
A win is always exciting, but a win by someone who was given slim-to-no chance at even medaling is incredible to watch. Talk about peaking at just the right time. Simply incredible.
A clearly overwhelmed Hafnaoui told NBC, "I just can't believe that. It's amazing."
He said he felt better in the water this morning than yesterday, and that he just put his head in the water. "And that's it," he said.
"I'm Olympic champion now," he added. "I just can't believe."
Ahmed Hafnaoui: " I'm an olympic champion now " Hell yeah you are young boy ! You made the whole Tunisia 🇹🇳 proud !… https://t.co/l5xLBep8kS— Alaeddin Dhahri (@Alaeddin Dhahri)1627189743.0
Congratulations to Hamed Hafnaoui and Tunisia, as well as all of Hafnaoui's loved ones. Thanks for giving us the Olympic thrill we love to see.