The Touching Story Behind Gold Medal Winner Kaylee McKeown’s Tattoo

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Twenty-year-old Kaylee McKeown has won three golds medals at the Tokyo Olympics and gained a legion of devoted fans in the process — especially when she celebrated her win in the 100m backstroke by accidentally dropping the F-bomb on live TV before following it up with, “I mean, woo!”.

Hailing from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, McKeown joined the Australian Dolphins swim team at the age of 15 and, just a few years later, is now an Olympian. While McKeown is experiencing a career-high at this year’s Olympic Games, last year proved to be exceptionally hard for the athlete.

In June 2018, McKeown’s father, Sholto, was diagnosed with brain cancer. In August 2020, he passed away. “He was taken from us too soon, by something so cruel,” McKeown wrote on Instagram at the time. “But the love, the memories and the laughter will forever be cherished in our hearts. The heavens above have gained another beautiful angel to watch over us. We will love and miss you.”

As a tribute to her father, McKeown has a small tattoo on her foot that reads “I’ll always be with you” in cursive writing. The swimmer got the ink following his death last year and has since remarked that her father is with her during the Tokyo Olympics.

“He was with me that entire race,” McKeown said following her win in the women’s 100m backstroke. “It’s kind of a little superpower I have to myself.”

In the press conference that followed, McKeown elaborated on this, saying: “I know it’s stupid of me to say, but I can feel his presence – there’s certain things that have popped up on my phone that are something only he would say to me. There’ve been a few moments where I’ve been like ‘oh okay, that’s definitely my dad here by my side.’”

So lovely!

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