AUSTRALIA found a new national hero at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre — and it wasn’t 17-year-old sensation Ariarne Titmus.
Her dad, Steve, is all Aussie Commonwealth Games fans are talking about, after his raw, manic and emotional performance from the grandstand cheering on his daughter, who is still in year 12 at school.
The teenage freak put the international swimming establishment on standby with a powerful swim which saw her fall just 0.04 seconds short of snatching the gold medal from fellow 17-year-old Taylor Ruck from Canada.
She was also just 0.02 seconds short of topping Emma McKeon’s Australian record in the women’s 200m freestyle as she smashed her previous personal best.
The records will show she lost the gold, but one quick look into the stands at her proud father must certainly have reminded her that she also won the silver medal.
Her old man, however, won even more than that.
He’s now an internet sensation flirting with viral status after Channel 7 footage and audio of his cheering his daughter on during the biggest moment of her career so far exposed him as a big softy, both elated and devastated at his daughter’s big result.
Titmus senior, a former Tasmanian cricketer, won the admiration and empathy of the entire nation with his over-the-top cheering from the grandstand bleachers.
The footage showed him waving his arms, pacing along his row barely able to keep his cool as he screamed his support down towards the pool as Ariarne pushed desperately to match Ruck.
The proud parent, who was mic’d up by the Seven Network was recorded saying all manner of things as he cheered his daughter on to her first Commonwealth Games medal.
“C’mon Annie, C’mon Annie,” he said waving his whole body in a swooshing motion, physically trying to push her towards the wall.
“Go Tarne, C’mon,” he screamed as she turned at the 350m mark.
“Good turn, now. F***, yes, good turn. Push. Push of that wall. Push. Go Annie. Go. Go Annie. Keep going now. Go. Go Annie, c’mon. Faster, faster. Go, go. Woo. Yes. Wooo.”
He couldn’t help but let out a wild scream of ecstasy as he thought his daughter had just won a gold medal.
Then came the announcement that she’d missed by just 0.04 seconds, a bee sting in it. Only for a brief moment, he is shattered. Then, immediately, his mood changes back to complete support and pride in what his daughter achieved.
“Oh, oh wow,” he said, completely drained by his intense cheer.
Almost immediately, he was a social media phenomenon.
It comes after Ariarne had earlier this week paid homage to the sacrifices her parents made in order for her to chase her dreams on the Gold Coast this week.
She told The Courier-Mail her decision to follow former coach Peter Gartrell from Launceston to Brisbane wasn’t easy on the family.
Having moved to Brisbane with mum Robyn and sister Mia, Steve eventually followed six months later, with the family finding it impossible to be living in different corners of Australia.
“I’m lucky to have parents that would do anything for me,” Ariarne Titmus said.
“A lot of other parents wouldn’t pack up their whole lives and leave their jobs to move to Brisbane.
“But they wanted to do whatever they could to help me achieve my dreams.”