Kristóf Milák swam the final of the 200m butterfly after some difficulties CLICKING ON THE PICTURE OPENS A GALLERY (Photos: Hédi Tumbász)
Kristóf Milák swam the final of the 200m butterfly after some difficulties CLICKING ON THE PICTURE OPENS A GALLERY (Photos: Hédi Tumbász)

 

 – It's torn... – Kristóf Milák stepped into the mixed zone with his ripped swimsuit.

 – What happened?
 – There was an unexpected incident. I learned that anything could happen in keen situations, and it's worth preparing for it. Although I don't know how to prepare for this... So, what happened was my swimsuit tore in front of the last call room. Well, no, that's where I noticed I didn't have my accreditation card, and when I ran back to get it, my suit tore. So, I went to the last call room with two trunks, and I changed there.

 – Was it the reason that you were more tense during the entry, start and actually all the way through the 200m butterfly?
 – Yes. 

 – Is such a mishap that annoying?
 – It's an influencing factor, it's a clear cut. I wasted so much time changing my swimsuit that I knew I wasn't going to make it.

 – You mean the world record?
 – Yes. Before the start, all I thought of was to just swim the finals. So, I just swam that 200 meters. The problem is, these nuances affect everything, lose focus, and everything is over.

 – It's not over! Or are you disappointed?
 – I'm not. That's what I could do this time. After the finals, some people who told me not to be upset because, if I want to, I can swim the world record next week in Kecskemét, Hungary, or anywhere else.

 – And they didn't say anything new, because you know it.

 – I do.

 – The most important thing this time was to have the Olympic title. The first one. You did it.
 – Indeed, I have the first one. Shall come the next one, the next one, the next one and so on.

 – It is the gold medal that basically everyone hung around your neck months ago — when did you know, feel that you'll win?
 – I didn't care that everyone called me a favorite. I was just thinking about my own business, nothing else. But I'm glad everyone foresees the events... When did I first feel like I was going to win the gold? I could tell you when I first felt this, but it makes no sense to do so. It's redundant. More importantly, I've been as serious about this final as I've been with all my races. I put myself there and swam myself out as well: I did everything I could to succeed, and I really can't be sad because I have the Olympic title – you can chase the results later.

 – Although you have just denied it, it is hard not to notice that we are facing the most disappointed Olympic champion...
 – But I'm really not disappointed. Now that I have the medal in my hands, I feel better. Just looking at it makes me feel so good.

 – Does the gold weigh?
 – Of course, it does! It weighs about the amount of strength and energy that people who have supported me on my journey have put into me and helped me get here.

 – Were there a lot of them?
 – A lot, really. I could list them, of course, but I still have work to do at this Olympics, and if we talked about everybody, we'd be sitting here till night. To be sure, my parents deserved my thanks the most – they got me on the road because I wouldn't be here without my mother's love, care and attention. For sure I will always know where I came from. But I'm grateful to my teammates because they've helped me a lot in my preparation and I'm also grateful to both my coach and youth coach.

 – Almost the entire Hungarian swimming team was also on the stands: although there were no spectators, could you still celebrate during the victory ceremony?
 – Our swimming team put themselves out there. It felt great that anyone who could come, came to the swimming pool – there was really a lot of them! And it was so nice to see the Hungarian flag in their hands!

 – Do you know that many people also gathered at the headquarters of the Hungarian Swimming Federation on Margaret Island to watch the final of the 200m butterflies together?
 – I didn't know that. But, I was hoping that a lot of people would get up or maybe not even go to bed in Hungary to root for me.

There’s a 15-year work in Kristóf Milák’s gold medal (Photo: Hédi Tumbász)
There’s a 15-year work in Kristóf Milák’s gold medal (Photo: Hédi Tumbász)

 – When you decided to take swimming more seriously, did you dream of getting this high so fast?
 – This result involves 15 years of work, which is not a short time. When my classmates thought about what profession to study or which high school to choose, I already knew that swimming would fill my life for a while. My life turned out to be a little different from theirs.

 – It turned out pretty well...
 – I'm not saying it didn't. I've always been proud of my life, and what I've achieved. When I was asked if I'd trade with someone, I always said no one – I have a good life of my own, and I love it. And then I think other people would rather trade with me. But only because they can only see one slice of the whole thing, and that this, the gold medal. I recommend everyone to follow only a day in my life – in and outside the swimming pool. 

 – You have never denied that you sometimes miss training sessions. Put your hand on your heart: how good have you been in this regard in the last few months?
 – Uhm... Next question...?

 – Let's move on then: you can't rest much, as on Thursday you are already in the 100m butterfly heat – are you thinking about time results or rankings?
 – Rankings, but I think it would be embarrassing to swim a time of 51... My suit has already torn before the 200 butterfly, but the same thing won't happen again. I really hope this gold isn't my only medal here in Tokyo. 

 – Will the long-await rest follow the 100m butterfly?
 – My goal is to make it to the final of the 100 butterfly here in Tokyo, and of course, to swim a good time there. Then, I'm going away for two months, I don't even want to see water – I'm just telling everyone to leave me alone for two months. Then I'll be back to the swimming pool, and I'll think about what to do next.

Translated by Vanda Orosz.