LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Passion. Determination. World-class talent. Those are the qualities of an Olympic champion — including one of the valley’s very own.
Las Vegas native Bowe Becker was part of the United States’ gold medal-winning 4×100 freestyle swimming relay team in Tokyo. But the journey from Las Vegas to the Olympics has not been easy, and Becker’s brothers say his big win means so much more than a medal.
“When I saw him win the gold medal, I teared up a little bit,” shared Brandon Becker, Bowe’s older brother. “It was a really beautiful moment.”
Bowe’s brothers are beyond proud of him. The 24-year-old first-time Olympian and Faith Lutheran High School graduate celebrated a first-place finish this week after a stellar swim in the relay.
“His journey has been a long and brutal one,” Brandon recounted about his brother’s trek to the podium.
The Olympic champion has rheumatoid arthritis, a condition where his immune system attacks his own joints. Bowe was diagnosed when he was around 12-years-old and started swimming to help.
Brandon says making the Olympics was a miracle:
“He’s almost given up at several points, but he just kept going, and that’s a testament to his tenacity and strength as a person.”
Bowe swam with the Sandpipers of Nevada, a local swimming club, and broke swimming records in high school and college. But last year, he almost gave up the sport.
“He just stopped swimming altogether,” Cameron Becker, the youngest Becker brother, told 8 News Now.
Cameron says Bowe waited tables at a restaurant in Reno, Nevada, for about six months in 2020 while he was applying to work with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. His passion for swimming returned, though, leading him to become victorious on the world’s biggest stage
“It’s amazing to be able to look up to someone of his caliber and know that I’m also related to him,” Cameron said. “It’s surreal.”
Bowe’s brothers hope he serves as an inspiration to kids everywhere, battling illness or adversity.
“Never giving up will get you good results in life — and maybe a gold medal,” Brandon said.
Bowe was only scheduled to compete in the 4×100 freestyle relay at the Olympics in Tokyo., but his brothers say Team U.S.A. might use him in a different relay.