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Anchored by an openly gay swimmer, Canada sets national relay record and barely misses a medal

Markus Thormeyer and Team Canada came very close to a bronze medal in the 4x100 meters as the team set a national record in the event.

Markus Thormeyer of Team Canada.
Markus Thormeyer of Team Canada.

Markus Thormeyer swam his personal best for Canada as the anchor leg in the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics and it almost resulted in a medal.

Thormeyer, who came out publicly as gay in 2020, swam fourth for Canada and had his personal best in the 100 meters (48.17) but was overtaken near the end for the bronze medal by Australian Kyle Chalmers. Nonetheless, it was a Canadian record for the men in the 4x100 relay and something to be proud of. Not bad for a team seeded 16th going in. Thormeyer’s best event is the backstroke, so to do that well in the freestyle is quite an accomplishment.

What did in Canada’s medal hopes was the insane final leg by Australian swimmer Kyle Chalmers, who won the gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle in 2016. His 46.44 100 meters beat not only the four American relay swimmers who won the gold but all of the other 31 swimmers in the field. (It also was a faster time than he had in winning the gold in 2016). Without Chalmers’ effort, Canada and Thormeyer would have had the bronze.

Thormeyer still has one event left — the 200-meter backstroke on Wednesday (Tuesday night in the U.S.). But has has already left his mark as one of the seven out LGBTQ swimmers in Tokyo.

“I am out, proud, and hoping to act as a role model for any LGBT person who may need it,” Thormeyer said before the Olympics. “To show them they can chase their dreams and succeed at anything they put their minds to, all while spreading love and kindness. I was only able to make it here today through the love and support of my family and friends, and I want to continue perpetuating that loving atmosphere in this community.”

You can follow Thormeyer on Instagram.