Maya DiRado Caps Off Her First and Last Olympics with (Another!) Gold Medal

Maya DiRado capped off her brief and illustrious Olympic career with a gold medal Friday night.

The 23-year-old phenom came first in the 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:05.99, beating out Katinka Hosszu and earning her fourth medal of the Rio Olympics.

DiRado won her first gold as part of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay, and also scored a silver in the 400-meter individual medley and a bronze in the 200-meter individual medley.

“I wanted to medal in all three of my events. Then I got put on a relay and we got gold … I just won! I don’t even know what to say,” a teary DiRado said.

“My team believed in me so much. I knew when I left for that last race they all thought I could do it. It was just a matter of convincing myself – and I did.”

The first generation Argentine American from Santa Rosa, California, has already announced that these Olympics (her first) will also be her last. One month after competing in Rio, she’ll begin a new career as a business analyst for a management consulting firm in Atlanta, Georgia. The Stanford grad said knowing there’s an expiration date on her professional swimming career has helped her to stay motivated and excited.

Yep. THAT close. #Rio2016pic.twitter.com/iqoYkXDiJz

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 13, 2016

Maya DiRado Caps Off Her First and Last Olympics with (Another!) Gold Medal| Summer Olympics 2016, Sports

Maya DiRado

Adam Pretty / Getty Images

“Some people see it as, ‘Oh, you’re swimming so well so why not keep going?’ ” DiRado told USA Today. “But I think part of the reason why I am swimming so well is knowing that I have a hard stop date. It’s so much easier to be excited about all of this and give it everything I have when I know that this is my last go-through.”

OhmyGOSH! Thank you thank you for all the support. Being on #TeamUSA is a dream and we’re just getting rolling pic.twitter.com/GqUpFdyf47

— Maya DiRado (@MayaDiRado) August 7, 2016

Katieledecky wins third gold medal as Team USA clinches’ women’s relay 4 X 200m freestyle really #Rio.congratulation pic.twitter.com/vcgmKbI9KP

— Albert (INC) (@aalbertjac) August 11, 2016

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Before that though, she’s going to celebrate her four medals with her husband, former Stanford swimmer Rob Andrews, with a trip to London and Paris.

“I’ll take a break from thinking about the swimming, like, where are we going to eat in Paris?” DiRado said. “How much weight can I gain per day eating croissants?”

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