Emotional Max Litchfield admits narrowly missing out on bronze by just 0.21 seconds in the men’s 400m individual medley final in Tokyo was ‘tough’… with Team GB star holding back tears and insisting ‘I’ve done everything I can’ to clinch a medal
Max Litchfield had to hold back tears as he explained his agony at finishing fourth in the 400 metres individual medley for the second successive Olympics.
The 26-year-old was less than a quarter-of-a-second off winning what would have been Team GB’s first medal at Tokyo 2020.
‘It’s tough, so close yet so far,’ said an emotional Litchfield. ‘I don’t think there was too much wrong with it, just small things. I’ve done everything I can these last five years. It just wasn’t quite enough.’
Chase Kalisz won the men’s 400m individual medley final in a superb one-two for Team USA
American Chase Kalisz won gold ahead of his team-mate Jay Litherland. Litchfield tied for fourth with Hungarian David Verraszto, 0.21sec off Australia’s Brendon Smith, who claimed the bronze.
Litchfield, whose younger brother Joe swims in the 200m medley, has vowed to come back stronger for Paris 2024. ‘That was the same case after finishing fourth in Rio and it’s even more the case this time,’ he added.
The result marked the seventh time the American team have taken the top two places in the event, and Kalisz’s gold was their first of this summer’s Olympics.
Great Britain’s Max Litchfield finished 0.21 seconds off bronze after coming through the field
In the end, the victor triumphed with a fine time of 4min 9.42 sec.
Despite trailing in eighth place after the butterfly leg, Litchfield edged up into sixth following the backstroke.
He then starred in the breaststroke to take fifth, and from then it was a tense, last-gasp tussle with Verraszte in fourth.
In the women’s 400m medley final, a tearful Aimee Willmott came home seventh in what is her third and final Games.
Litchfield admitted the feeling was ‘gutting’ after narrowly falling short of a spot on the podium
‘It’s not sad tears, it’s overcoming emotion,’ the 28-year-old insisted. ‘I just wanted to get out there and enjoy myself and it was so much fun. I finished seventh last time and I finished seventh again, so I can’t really be too grumpy. The big thing for me was that I did make it back.’
Team GB’s women’s 4×100 freestyle relay quartet set a new national record to finish fifth, as Australia won with a new world record.
Anna Hopkin, who swam a personal best on the opening leg, said: ‘To come away with the best time as a relay team, we couldn’t have done much more.
‘With this being only the third or fourth time we’ve raced together as this four, it’ll be interesting to see how far we can go.’