Longshot Tunisian Swimmer’s Family Has Epic Reaction Watching Him Win Gold at Tokyo Olympics

by Suzanne Halliburton

The Tokyo Olympics already gave sports fans around the world over the best sort of underdog story.

Now, meet the underdog. Tunisia’s Ahmed Hafnaoui won the gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle. His gold was only the fifth ever won by an athlete from Tunisia and the third by a swimmer from his country. Coincidentally, Hafnaoui’s mentor, Oussama Mellouli, owns the country’s other two swimming golds.  

What a fantastic feeling for an athlete competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Meanwhile, you can hear the delight of his family who was watching back home. Barstool Sports by way of ETTACHKILA posted the soundtrack from the watch party. Warning, if you turn up the volume, make sure to earmuff your kids and dogs. It sounds like dozens of people riding a massive roller coaster, times 100. The decibel level = off the charts.

Enjoy what the Tokyo Olympics are all about:

Swimmer’s Family Couldn’t be at Tokyo Olympics, But They Could Still Be Heard

As Barstool points out, odds for Ahmed Hafnaoui winning the 400 free were 50 to 1. International swimming royalty resides in the United States and Australia. Countries like France and Brazil make a splash. Tunisia, a country in Northern Africa, is like the guest out to prove he deserved an invitation to the swanky party.

Hafnaoui is only 18. He qualified eighth for the final field of eight and swam from lane eight. Eight, in this case, was the obvious lucky number. He edged Australia’s Jack McLoughlin and American Kieran Smith for the gold. Hafnaoui posted a time of 3 minutes, 43.36 seconds. That was two seconds faster than his qualifying time. In an odd twist, he won the event by about the same margin in which he clinched the eighth and final spot in the finals.

And Hafnaoui was stunned when he looked at the video board and saw his time. He screamed and pounded the water in delight. He had no idea that his family back home was screaming so loud they probably set off car alarms.

“I believe it when I touched the wall … (And) I was so surprised I didn’t accept that,” Hafnaoui said at a Tokyo Olympics press conference.

Hafnaoui Dedicated Medal to His Family

He said he dedicated the gold “to all my family, my mum, my dad, my sisters, I wish they are proud of me.” Trust us, they shrieked with pride, with the screams starting the moment their son/brother/friend jumped from the blocks.

Australia’s McLoughlin was the favorite for the race. He told reporters: “I couldn’t really see all the way over (to lane eight). I could see some splashes. And I could see the middle of the pool moving at me (during) the last 100 meters, but I was just trying to hold on.”

Hafnaoui, wearing a T-shirt and shorts, stood atop the medal podium. He blinked back tears as his country’s anthem was played at the Tokyo Olympics aquatics center.

Maybe he could hear his family back home.

(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)