The mother said Tom Dean’s family in Britain celebrated like a “madman” after winning the Olympic gold medal in the men’s 200-meter freestyle.
Dean, 21, who was “knocked six times” after being infected twice with the coronavirus earlier this year, finished at the Tokyo Aquatics Center in 1 minute 44.22 seconds ahead of his British compatriot Duncan Scott.
His mother, Jackie Hughes, 58, talked to a PA news agency and her up to 70 family and friends are in Maidenhead, Berkshire, despite the event starting early Tuesday. He said he saw the race in the garden.
She states: “Honestly, I haven’t taken everything in yet. Everything is very nervous, the finals are great, and lack of sleep has led to an adrenaline-filled rush.
“I know Tom feels the same way. He said it was a dream and it didn’t really feel like nothing happened, but he still has competition to do. Yes, I came back to the pool within a few hours.
“Everyone was very supportive and I was surprised by the number of people who invested in it. The garden was crazy. We were like madmen.
“I think half of Maidenhead is at the airport to cheer him home with banners and flags. He put Maidenhead on the map.”
Hughes said his son was “calm and analytical” before the race and was advised to limit contact with family and friends.
Dean, the second of five children who swam at the national level, has been celebrated by many former Olympic swimmers, including Adrian Moorhouse and Mark Foster.
Hughes goes on to say: “It’s interesting to see what Tom will do next. The gold medal is considered the pinnacle of an athlete’s career, but I don’t think he will cut his goggles.
“Tom has the mindset and motivation of someone who wants to chase his record time and be on the record book.
“He’s just getting started, so I think I’ll see him in Paris four years later.”
However, Dean was even suspected of attending this year’s tournament after spending up to seven weeks after being infected with the second coronavirus earlier this year.
After re-positive in January, a 21-year-old man told the BBC that his symptoms were much more severe and he could not climb the stairs “without coughing and wheezing.”
Hughes said: “The second time I was completely knocked out. To be honest, he was knocked out six times. He had just returned to the pool after the blockade, so he was just behind training.
“He had no control over his heart rate and had a hard time completing his daily tasks. This could have pierced the ambitions of the Olympics.
“But Tom was Tom and turned his nose to the grindstone to make up for the lost time. He slowed down in several other competitions but recovered.”
She added: “My heart is bursting. I can’t explain my feelings. Only the athlete and the athlete’s parents understand what it needs.
“For 11 years, I took my kids to swimming lessons seven times a week. I’m very proud of how Tom dealt with the setbacks and how humble and graceful he was. “
Dean became the first Englishman to win the Olympic freestyle title in 113.