Don’t believe in good luck charms? Prepare to have the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Lydia Jacoby change your mind. On Monday, the 17-year-old Alaska native had the whole state on its feet with her mind-blowing win in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke. In the last lap of the race, she pulled ahead from behind to steal third place then second and then… Olympic Gold. And while the young gold medalist’s skill, vigor and confidence are all the good luck charms she needs, if you ask her, she’ll tell you her lucky pink goggles had a hand in her victory.
Unlike other sports stars, whose good luck charms become that way after an especially rewarding win, Jacoby’s goggles were a gift from her sports hero and fellow Olympian, Jessica Hardy Meichtry. Like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist, Meichtry specialized in breaststroke as well as freestyle. She, too, has earned her fair share of gold medals–14 in international competitions to be exact.
Meichtry first met the aspiring Olympic swimmer five years ago during a swim clinic that she hosted in Jacoby’s hometown of Seward, Alaska. At the time, Jacoby was only 12 years old. Meichtry reported in a Tweet that the young Olympian has worn her pink goggles ever since. She posted a side-by-side shot of the swimmers wearing identical eyewear, asking her fans and followers to help cheer Jacoby on during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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Even before the eminent passing-of-the-goggles, the swimming fates seemed to be in the future 2020 Tokyo Olympiad’s favor. The reason Meichtry was in Seward, Alaska in the first place was that Jacoby’s swim team had won a fundraising contest through the USA Swimming Foundation.
“Her family was actually the family that volunteered to pick me up at the airport and show me around,” Meichtry explained to TODAY. “You know at the time of year I went, it’s light out pretty much the whole day so I didn’t even realize that we stayed up talking to like 2 in the morning one of the nights.”
Meichtry shared that her time in Alaska was “one of the most unforgettable trips in my life.”
Since their first meeting, Meichtry and Jacoby have stayed in touch over the years. Meichtry has even replaced Jacoby’s goggles with a fresh pair of her own.
“I got lucky enough to see her this May, and gave her a new pair of goggles because Speedo stopped making them,” she said. “So I had a few left from when I swam but really I didn’t save enough and I’m kicking myself now that I don’t have more to give because there’s none left!”
Although she might not have any more goggles to pass down, Meichtry and Jacoby may have inevitably started a tradition for Team U.S.A.’s swimmers.