This year's Olympic Games have been filled with some truly heartwarming stories - but the one of Team USA swimmer Lydia Jacoby might be the sweetest yet.
Like many other athletes competing in Tokyo in 2021, Jacoby has not had an easy ride. The pandemic massively impacted her progress over the past year and a half, leaving Jacoby's dreams of Olympic victory in doubt.
"I had to take two months off due to COVID when it (the pandemic) first started," she told PEOPLE. After her local pool closed down, she was left having to travel over 2 hours to Anchorage, Alaska, in order to be able to continue her training. Even then, the pool she'd been training in was an L-shape over 2 twenty-five-meter stretches, while a regulation Olympic swimming pool is fifty meters in length.
Nonetheless, Jacoby was able to overcome adversity and snatch Olympic success this week. Taking part in her first-ever Olympic Games, won gold in the women's 100m breaststroke. Her teammate and previous gold medal holder Lilly King won the bronze medal, while the silver medal went to Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa.
But eagle-eyed viewers noticed something even sweeter about Jacoby's incredible victory. In a true full-circle moment, Jacoby won the event while wearing the very pink goggles she used to swim with as a kid. The cute good luck charm was spotted by fellow Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy Meichtry, who wrote, "Pink goggle watch! Help me cheer on Lydia Jacoby in tonight's 100 breaststroke final at 7:17 PM PST. Met this girl hosting a clinic at her home pool in Alaska 5 years ago & she's still racing in my goggles since. Go get 'em, Lydia, proud of you no matter what happens!"
Pink goggle watch! ⚠️ Help me cheer on Lydia Jacoby in tonight's 100 breaststroke final 7:17PM PST. Met this girl hosting a clinic at her home pool in Alaska 5 years ago & she's still racing in my goggles since. Go get em Lydia 💪🏼🇺🇸💕 proud of you no matter what happens! pic.twitter.com/yI0W262O2i
— Jessica Hardy Meichtry (@swimhardy) July 26, 2021
Hardy won a bronze and gold medal at the London Games back in 2012, and now it seems her goggles have proved a lucky charm! And it seems fans were loving the easter egg, with one Twitter user replying: "Best tweet ever! How awesome is that? Your goggles on a new Gold Medalist! Congrats to both!" "Well… this couldn't have happened any better," another agreed. A third made another point congratulating Jacoby, joking, "Wait. She's had the same goggles for five years?! Imo…..another medal."
Jacoby began her swimming career at the age of 6, initially with the aim of water safety as her family owned a boat and were avid sailors. But as she progressed, she began to realize she had a true natural talent.
"I just kept doing it, all my friends did it with me, it was just a fun thing," she told PEOPLE. "Then, when I was about twelve, I broke my first state record. And that was kind of when I realized that it was something that I excelled at."
Huge congratulations to Lydia Jacoby!