North Korea has been formally suspended from the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics by the IOC as punishment for refusing to send a team to the Tokyo Games citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Australian Ariarne Titmus brought down American rival Katie Ledecky in an epic 400m final, her coach Dean Boxall was going nuts in the stands, channelling WWE legend the Ultimate Warrior with a celebration that made waves around the world.
Boxall has coached Titmus for six years after her family moved from Tasmania to Brisbane to further her swim career under his tuition at Brisbane’s St Peters school.
He is well known for his passion and it all burst out at the end of the race as he grabbed a rail and screamed, in the same style as the Ultimate Warrior grabbing ring ropes.
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) July 26, 2021
“He was my favourite,” Boxall told Channel 7. “My brother was, I can’t remember, but I was the Ultimate Warrior when we used to wrestle at home when I was about 10. I loved him, loved the Ultimate Warrior.”
Boxall said his reaction “just came out. I built it up in trials it was coming through and when I saw the race unfolding I couldn’t keep it in.
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) July 26, 2021
“I need to apologise because I took my mask off by mistake and it ripped. I lost it in the moment.”
He said Titmus had stuck to their pre-race plan to win a first Olympic final.
“We had a race plan and the funny thing is, in this situation and under that pressure, Arnie executed it to perfection. When I saw it started to build I thought here we go, I thought she can do this. It’s unbelievable to execute that under pressure.”
Boxall’s reaction was nothing new, according to NZ swimmer Eve Thomas, who trains with Boxall and Titmus at St Peters.
She told stuff.nz he went “absolutely wild” when she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 1500m freestyle.
“My coach was absolutely wild,” Thomas said. “He’s one of Australia’s top coaches and he’s just known for being absolutely insane.
“He’s so loud, a massive personality, exceptionally passionate, and he carried me through that 1500m.
“All 30 laps he was there with me, feeling every bit of pain that I was feeling.”
Titmus said she saw Boxall tearing up in the medal ceremony.
“He means everything to me,” she said.
“It was actually hard to contain it. I could see Dean on the other side bawling his eyes out. “You don’t see that that often so that made me want to tear up.”
Dean Boxall is all of us in Sydney when we eventually get out of lockdown!!
Unbelievable swim Ariarne!! https://t.co/kLEBzgO5Wj
— Chloe Esposito (@chloeesposito91) July 26, 2021
Spare a thought for the Japanese official in the background who’s read a 400-page Covid compliance manual that contained precisely no detail of how to deal with this
— The Shovel (@TheShovel) July 26, 2021
Ask and you shall receive! ????
Dean Boxall with Ultimate Warrior music!
— Todd TEAM AUS ???????? ( “MAMBA 4 LIFE !”) (@cyrilicioushawk) July 26, 2021
While the moment drew plenty of praise from Australian fans, it also unveiled one of the worst takes you’ll ever see on Twitter.
We're all for strong sport opinions but… ???? pic.twitter.com/3vasbRdOSW
— The Roar (@TheRoarSports) July 26, 2021
— Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) July 26, 2021