American champion Katie Ledecky. Photo by
David Ramos / Staff
Dean Boxall has become a household name. The coach of Australia’s newly-crowned Olympic gold medallist Ariarne Titmus went Internet viral in the moments after the swimmer’s momentous win in the women’s 400-metre freestyle in Tokyo.
Titmus, 20, dethroned her American rival and five-time gold medallist Katie Ledecky on Monday, clinching the second-fastest time ever swum in the event and handing Ledecky the first loss of her Olympic career. But it was Boxall, who has previously been described as “one of swimming’s new rock star coaches,” who drew the spotlight on social media as footage of his ecstatic, frenzied, borderline-deranged celebration set the Internet alight.
Video from the event showed Boxall pacing vigorously around the spectator’s gantry, clenching his biceps, puffing his chest and apparently being led by the forward propulsion of his groin as he hip-thrust his way past confused onlookers, tore off his face mask and ferociously dry-humped a transparent barrier. A panicked staffer can be seen shuffling away nervously, seemingly fearing for her safety as Boxall punches the air and every vein in his body tenses to the brink of bursting.
“It just came out … When I saw the race unfolding I couldn’t keep it in,” he told the Seven network afterwards, explaining that his technique of shaking the barrier was inspired by American wrestler “The Ultimate Warrior.”
“He’s my favourite; I used to follow him,” Boxall said. “I was the Ultimate Warrior [whenever I] used to wrestle at home when I was around about 10 ... I just loved him, I loved the Ultimate Warrior.”
“It just came out,” he continued. “I built it up in trials, it was coming through, and then when I saw the race unfolding I just couldn’t keep it in.”
Boxall also apologised for ripping off his mask. “I just lost it in the moment,” he said.
The impassioned eruption has since become a meme, a GIF and a trending video on Twitter, as a burgeoning cohort of Boxall-heads celebrate his celebration.
Following her victory, Titmus was also full of praise for her enthusiastic coach.
“This is just as much for him as it is for me,” she said. “He has sacrificed a lot in his family life, his kids and his wife, for his job. He puts 100% into being a swimming coach. I would not be here without him.”
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