Katie Ledecky Has 10 Olympic Medals, Including 7 Golds
TOKYO – It was the Katie and Caeleb Show, an ongoing swimming series, as the Americans continued their medal harvest at the Olympics.
Caeleb Dressel won her third gold of these Olympics, setting a world record in the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 49.45 seconds. He will seek his fourth gold medal on Sunday, the last day of competition, in the 50-meter butterfly.
Katie Ledecky finished her competition at the Tokyo Games with a gold medal in one of her iconic races, the women’s 800-meter freestyle, becoming the first swimmer to win the event at three consecutive Olympics.
She finished in 8: 12.57, beating Australian rival Ariarne Titmus by 1.26 seconds. And while Ledecky finished in Tokyo, taking off with two gold medals (the other in the 1,500 freestyle) and two silver medals, she said she is already looking forward to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, in just three years, and play with the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.
“I’m definitely going to Paris,” Ledecky said. “And maybe beyond too. We will see.”
His four medals in Tokyo give him a total of 10 out of three Olympics, including seven gold and three silver.
Ledecky, 24, already held the Olympic and world record for the event, set at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. At the time, she swam it in a blazing time of 8: 04.79, winning almost 12 seconds. In Rio, it was the last of his four gold medals, with one silver.
But that’s another Ledecky and another era. She remained the small favorite, and her qualifying time of 8: 15.67 would have won again in Brazil five years ago. Rivals are closing in, including Katie Grimes, her 15-year-old American teammate, an apparent heiress, perhaps, in some of Ledecky’s best events.
Grimes was fourth, behind bronze medalist Simona Quadarella of Italy.
But Titmus has become Ledecky’s main rival at the moment. She beat Ledecky in two other individual events here, the 200 freestyle (where Ledecky was fifth) and the 400 freestyle (Ledecky won silver, missing gold by 0.67 seconds).
“I’m really, really excited to have this kind of competition,” said Ledecky. “It’s something that feeds me, and I know it feeds her too. And I hope I can keep pace and stay competitive here in the future. “
Ledecky said she was “really happy” to meet her in Tokyo, which also included a rare fifth place finish in the 200 freestyle. She was motivated to finish with a victory in the 800 freestyle.
“I really wanted to end on a very high note,” she said. “I just knew if I ended up on a bad note I was going to linger, so I just tried to use that as a motivation to finish on the best rock possible.”
Dressel finished the 100 butterfly on the highest possible score – a world record – but had more swimming to go. He made it through a semi-final in the 50 freestyle and will be the favorite to win another gold medal on the final day of competition.
He then joined the American team in the final of the first mixed 4×100 medley relay, swimming freely in the final stage, but that was not enough to win a medal in the United States. Great Britain won, with a world record, followed by China and Australia.
The United States was fifth, three seconds behind the winners.
But Dressel has not lost any individual event. In the 100 butterfly, Dressel already held the world record (49.5 seconds, in 2019) and the Olympic record (49.71, Friday). Kristof Milak of Hungary, a gold medalist in the 200 butterfly, swam to Dressel’s left, and Dressel suspected that was where his closest competition would be.
He was right. Milak followed Dressel to the finish, hitting a European record 49.68.
“What a close race – two of the fastest times in history,” said Dressel. “You don’t get this very often, so being a part of it is really special.”
The two of them, along with Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic, remain the only athletes to swim less than 50 seconds in the history of the event.
“This event will only accelerate, I am aware of that,” Dressel said. “It’s just exciting that it took a world record to win.”
The Americans were hoping to win another medal or two in the women’s 200-meter backstroke, but they finished fourth and fifth.
Kaylee McKeown of Australia won in 2:04:68.
Something was missing from the event: world record holder Regan Smith, who did not qualify because she was third in the US trials. It’s indicative of American depth, in this event and through the sport.
The two swimmers who beat her in June – Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon – were well placed to win a medal here, swimming either side of Australian Emily Seebohm, 29, who clocked the fastest qualifying time .
White, 21, was fourth. Bacon, 18, was fifth.
(As for Smith, she finished her program, leaving Tokyo with a silver medal and a bronze medal.)
This left the stage open for Dressel and Ledecky, who now comes out with her legacy firmly intact and looking to grow.
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