ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Joe Finke is running on only two hours of sleep, but said it was worth it to see his son win the gold.
His son, Clearwater Olympian Bobby Finke finished first in the debut of the men’s 800-meter swimming freestyle event at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, passing three swimmers at the last minute to take the gold in 7 minutes, 41.87 seconds, just 0.24 ahead of Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri.
“We were just jumping up and down, cheering and speechless at the same time,” Finke’s father told 8 On Your Side.
Joey Finke said it was a nerve-racking night for their family. They thought the 21-year-old would finish in fourth place, but on the final flip, he turned on the boost and sped past the competition to take home the gold.
“Somebody wake me up, because it’s not supposed to happen,” Joe Finke said. “To actually see it come true, for something like that on that stage, just unreal.”
Finke grew up swimming at the North Shore Aquatic Complex in St. Petersburg and now swims at the University of Florida. He holds the record for fastest mile swim in America.
On Friday, he will compete in the men’s 1500 freestyle qualifiers.