Ruta Meilutyte is stealing some of the spotlight from 17-year-old American swimming phenom Missy Franklin at the 2012 London Olympics.
The 15-year-old Lithuanian swimmer, who just last week was in a classroom with her peers at Plymouth College in Britain, is how hoisting a gold medal for her run in the 100m breaststroke. Ruta Meilutyte’s run to the finals came as much more of a shock than Franklin’s dominant performance, the Daily Mail pointed out. She was not even expected to reach the final, but after completing the race and turning to see that she had won, Meilutyte clasped her hands over her mouth in shock.
The teenager, who attends an English language school in Britain, was still in shock after the race, telling a BBC reporter:
‘I can’t believe it. It’s all too much for me. I just can’t believe it.’
Ruta Meilutyte made some history with her victory. She became the first athlete from Lithuania to earn an Olympic medal–of any kind–in swimming.
Her coach, Jon Rudd, said that a fast swim had been “brewing for a while.” Meilutyte moved to Britain three years ago to being training for the Olympics
“We didn’t realistically know what she would do,” Rudd told BBC News, adding that when Ruta Meilutyte first moved to Britain she was actually a freestyler.
The circumstances of the race make her win even more amazing. The start of the race was delayed by a technical malfunction when the starter’s gun went off before he had called “on your marks.” Though it may have been a nerve-racking experience, Ruta Meilutyte took it in stride, cruising to a victory in 1:05.47.