Ryan Murphy, as a small child, wrote a book to his parents. In it, he inked, "I hope I become an Olympian."

Take a look.

Well, Ryan made good. He's an Olympian. He's just 21. And now he's a gold medal-winning, record-setting member of Team USA in the pool.

Murphy touched first in a thrilling 100-meter backstroke final on Monday night. His 51.97 wall-touch set an Olympic record. Murphy nearly set a world record, too.

"It's everything ... Earlier on in this trip we got a stack of letters from backstrokers that have won here in the past," Murphy said of taking gold. "It meant everything to me and I'm sure it meant everything to David as well. Following the path they set up for us, it's really cool."

Murphy's teammate, American David Plummer, took bronze with a time of 52.40. Finishing between them, China's Xu Jiayu nabbed silver (52.31).

It's the sixth straight Olympics an American male has taken gold in a backstroke event, and the third straight wherein two of the three medal winners in a backstroke event were Americans.

"I would have loved to have been a little faster, but to be up there on the podium at the Olympics is a dream come true," Plummer said.

Ryan Murphy takes the gold in the 100m backstroke. USATSI