NEWS
28/07/2021 16:09 BST

Last-Minute Wardrobe Malfunction Costs Olympic Swimmer The World Record

"This broke my focus and that problem impacted my time," said Hungary's Kristof Milak.

Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak blamed his failure to set a new world record in the 200-meter butterfly final at the Tokyo Olympics on a rip in his swimming shorts.

“They split 10 minutes before I entered the pool and in that moment I knew the world record was gone. I lost my focus and knew I couldn’t do it,” Milak said Wednesday, according to the BBC.

Milak, 21, changed into a new pair of trunks and still won the event by almost 2.5 seconds. He set a new Olympic record of 1:51:25 in the process, shattering Michael Phelps’ time of 1:52:03 at the Beijing games in 2008.

But the wardrobe malfunction was a negative distraction, he said.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND via Getty Images
Kristof Milak adjusts his swim trunks ahead of the final of the men's 200-meter butterfly final at the Tokyo Olympics.

”It was a problem for me. I have a routine, a rhythm, a focus. This broke my focus and that problem impacted my time,” he explained.  “I wasn’t swimming for the medal, I was swimming for the time,” he added. “I said earlier I wanted a personal best. And my personal best is a world record.”

Milak set his world record of 1:50:73 at the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in 2019. He shaved 0.78 seconds off Phelps’ time from the 2009 World Championships.

“As frustrated as I am to see that record go down, I couldn’t be happier to see how he did it,” Phelps said in tribute to Milak at the time. “That kid’s last 100m was incredible. He put together a great 200 fly from start to finish.”