By Mark Trevelyan
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Maya DiRado of the United States won the women’s 200 meters backstroke in her final race on Friday, reeling in Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu in the closing meters to deny her a fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics.
Canada’s Hilary Caldwell won bronze.
For DiRado, who is quitting swimming at the age of 23 to take up a job in management consultancy, it was the perfect goodbye after a week in which she has now won two gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
“It’s indescribable. That is just pure joy and surprise and excitement,” she said. “That was my last race ever and I just won a gold medal. I don’t even know what to say.”
Hosszu had led from the start, reacting fastest from the block, but DiRado shadowed her the whole way.
The Hungarian led the American by 0.57 seconds at 100 meters and by 0.48 at the final turn, but DiRado fought back and the two were neck-and-neck as they entered the final 25 meters.
DiRado touched the wall in two minutes, 5.99 seconds to win by 0.06 seconds. Turning to look at the scoreboard and see the number one against her name, her eyes widened and she clapped her hand to her mouth as if she could not believe the result.
Hosszu had already won the 100 backstroke and the 200 and 400 individual medleys in Rio, breaking the world record in the latter.
DiRado added to her gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay, silver in the 400 individual medley and bronze in the 200 IM.
(Editing by Frank Pingue/Greg Stutchbuiry)