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Gold medalist Lydia Jacoby's lucky goggles are a sweet hand-me-down from another Olympian

Former Olympian Jessica Hardy Meichtry gave Jacoby the pink goggles years ago at a swim clinic in Alaska.
/ Source: TODAY

As many athletes and sports fans will tell you, they're all about superstition — and it seems even Olympians aren't exempt from this rule.

Team USA's Lydia Jacoby, the 17-year-old surprise gold medalist in the 100 meter breaststroke, has been holding onto a pair of pink swim goggles from one of her sporting heroes for years.

Tokyo 2020 Swimming
Jacoby waves to the sparse stands after her winning swim.picture alliance / dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

Former Olympian Jessica Hardy Meichtry, 34, posted on Twitter that she met Jacoby five years ago at a swim clinic she hosted at Jacoby's home pool in Seward, Alaska. At the time, she gave her a pair of pink goggles that she'd worn in competition, and Jacoby has held onto them ever since.

"Her family was actually the family that volunteered to pick me up at the airport and show me around," Hardy Meichtry laughed in an interview to TODAY. She explained Jacoby's swim team had won a fundraising contest through the USA Swimming Foundation and she really connected with her family.

a swimmer in a pool takes her pink goggles off
Hardy Meichtry with her pink goggles after winning the Women's 100 meter breaststroke final at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships on August 22, 2014 in Australia.Matt Roberts / Getty Images

"You know at the time of year I went, it's light out pretty much the whole day so I didn't even realize that we stayed up talking to like 2 in the morning one of the nights," she said. "Just really good people, we really connected and they showed me around — like a whale watching tour and a glacier and like, I saw eagles and moose — I mean, it was one of the most unforgettable trips in my life."

Hardy Meichtry, who herself has a bronze and gold medal from the London 2012 Olympics, added that they've stayed in touch over the years. She even replaced Jacoby's lucky goggles with a fresh pair.

Jacoby celebrates after winning the final of the women's 100 meter breaststroke at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 27, 2021.OLI SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images

"I got lucky enough to see her this May, and gave her a new pair of goggles because Speedo stopped making them," she said. "So I had a few left from when I swam but really I didn't save enough and I'm kicking myself now that I don't have more to give, because there's none left!"

Hardy Meichtry added that while she had no idea Jacoby was going to be an Olympian when she initially visited Seward, she kept tabs on the teen as she rose through the swimming ranks and couldn't have been more proud of her for taking home a gold medal.

"It's so, so crazy, she's like the sweetest human," she said. "I mean, for how good she swam the other night, she's an even better person."

"I'm super proud of her and I know the whole state of Alaska is...I'm grateful to be a small part of her journey."