Olympic Champion Lilly King Qualifies for Paris Olympics 2024, Gets Engaged to Longtime Boyfriend

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Olympic swimmer Lilly King’s triumphant moment at the USA Swimming trials in Indianapolis on June 20, 2024, turned into a double celebration when her longtime boyfriend, James Wells, surprised her with a marriage proposal.

King, 27, had just qualified for her second event in the upcoming Paris Olympics when Wells, 32, got down on one knee on the pool deck. The touching moment was captured live during NBC’s broadcast.

Speaking to TODAY on June 21, Lilly King expressed her astonishment at the timing of the proposal.

“I was expecting it more after the Games because we’re going to go frolic around Europe after that, but last night I was not expecting it at all,” she said.

King also amusingly recalled her initial confusion, stating,

“I was honestly just so confused why he was on deck. After that I was like, ‘Why are you wearing your nice clothes?’ Like, what’s going on? And then I realized, ‘Oh, I know what’s going on!'”

Wells explained his decision to propose earlier than originally planned:

“I was actually, funnily enough, originally planning to do it after the Paris Games. … And then just seeing Lilly with all of her friends here and kind of in this stadium in her home state, I was like, I think this would be a really special moment that she could share with everyone.”

The proposal added an extra layer of joy to what was already a significant achievement for King.

“It was already an unbelievable week to start off with. I mean, making my third Olympic team, obviously, could not be more special, and now I’m getting married,” she shared.

This will be Lilly King’s third Olympics. She’s already a decorated athlete, having won two gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics and two silver and one bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.