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Lydia Jacoby, first Olympic swimmer born in Alaska, wins gold for the US –and for Seward

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 7/27/2021 Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY
First Tokyo gold medal for US swimming, Alaskan teen Lydia Jacoby looking forward to sleep
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Monday night's city council meeting in the city of Seward, Alaska, wasn't the first thing on mayor Christy Terry's mind. It was seeing hometown hero Lydia Jacoby win gold in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Olympics

a man wearing a blue shirt: Lydia Jacoby holdsup her gold medal after winning the women's 100-meter breaststroke. © Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports Lydia Jacoby holdsup her gold medal after winning the women's 100-meter breaststroke.

The small port city, located roughly 100 miles and a two-hour drive south from Anchorage, has a population of around 2,700 people, but hundreds of people gathered together to watch Jacoby's win in Tokyo.

Terry wasn't one of those people gathered in a ship hangar for a watch party because she was in the city council chambers for a meeting that was already postponed so all members could watch the race. 

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However, the reactions in the chambers were similar to the cheers and excitement inside the hangar and across the country in Orlando as Jacoby's parents saw their daughter achieve Olympic history. 

"It's just such a momentous occasion. There was crying, there was yelling, we are so proud of our hometown girl, and we're so enthusiastic for the United States today to have a gold medal," Terry told USA TODAY Sports. "We're just over the world."

While she shined Tuesday in Tokyo, the people of Seward long knew there was something special in Jacoby. 

She is the first Olympic swimmer and only the 10th Summer Olympian to be born in Alaska. She broke numerous high school state records, and her parents, Richard and Leslie Jacoby, told USA TODAY earlier this week their daughter took to the water “right off the bat.”

"So many people have seen Lydia grow up from a small girl, having been supported through the Tsunami Swim Club. I can't say anything else that it was just one of the best days in Seward history, to be able to watch her achieve such something so amazing," Terry said.

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Terry added that this event will be something the city will be proud of as they try to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and await her return back to the city.

"This is something that we're going to rally around," she said. "We're going to show our enthusiasm in so many ways."

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lydia Jacoby, first Olympic swimmer born in Alaska, wins gold for the US –and for Seward

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