Local Olympic medalist shares her shining moment in Tokyo, historic victory for Team USA

Japan 2020

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas swimmer brought home some silver of her own after her historic win at the Tokyo Olympics.

On Saturday, 8 News Now met up with Erica Sullivan to hear all about her experience at the unprecedented games and what her historic victory means to her now that she is back home in the Silver State.

At just 20 years old, Erica Sullivan captured the silver medal in the first-ever women’s 1500-meter freestyle in Tokyo last month. A feat that had never been done before until now. 

“This race is considered historical because prior to this Olympics, the 800 was the highest they would allow women to do so this is historically the first 1500 freestyle ever in the Olympics Games,” Sullivan shared with 8 News Now.

To be a woman of Asian descent and a part of the LGBTQ+ community, bringing this medal back home to Vegas where her love for swimming began means everything.

“I’m Asian American and I was able to do it in Japan and I’m also a queer woman so just me being very pro-woman so to speak, getting to do a historical women’s event really hit home to me,” Sullivan said.

Due to the coronavirus, the Olympics were put on hold in 2020, but Sullivan says she is just thankful she got to be a part of the Games this year. It was her first time competing in the Olympics. 

“There was a point where we didn’t think the games were going to happen,” Sullivan shared.

“We had this hanging fate over our heads where if one of us tested positive, we all would have to go home so it was a dream honestly getting to be with six other girls who are your closest friends who you have known for years and work as hard as you can for a common goal which is to bring home medals for team USA,” she said.

Now that Sullivan is back home in Vegas, what’s her next move? ​College!

She starts her freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin this fall. 

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