Rio De Janeiro – In her international debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games as a 15-year-old upstart, Katie Ledecky unexpectedly won the gold medal in the women’s 800-meter freestyle in the second fastest performance ever. As a 19-year-old at the Rio Olympics, Ledecky was simply outstanding. Ledecky won four gold medals to go along with a silver and set two world records.
Ledecky is the first swimmer to win the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle at the same Olympics since Debbie Meyer did so in 1968 in Mexico City. Ledecky’s final medal total (four golds, one silver) is the most decorated single-Olympics performance by a U.S. female athlete in terms of gold medals, topping Missy Franklin (2012; four golds, 1 bronze), Simone Biles (2016; four golds, 1 bronze), and Amy Van Dyken (1996; four golds).
Katie’s Rio roundup:
Her first individual event was the 400-meter freestyle. Ledecky qualified in the heats with a time of 3:58.71, an Olympic record. In the final, she won the gold medal with a world record time of 3:56:46, almost 5 seconds ahead of the silver medalist, Jazmin Carlin.
Ledecky won a second gold in the 200-meter freestyle with a personal best of 1:53.73, beating Sarah Sjöström by 0.35 seconds.
Ledecky claimed her third gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, with Allison Schmitt, Leah Smith, and Maya DiRado. Swimming the anchor leg again, Ledecky recorded a 1:53:74 split and the team won with a time of 7:43:03.
Ledecky won a fourth gold in her final individual event, the 800-meter freestyle. Having qualified in the heats with an Olympic record, 8:12:86, she set a world record in the finals of 8:04:79, over 11 seconds faster than the silver medalist, Jazmin Carlin.