After losing the women's 200 meter freestyle, swimmer Katie Ledecky came back in the same day with a victory in the women's 1,500 meter freestyle. This year is the debut of the women's 1500 meter freestyle category at the Summer Olympics, making Ledecky's victory a historic first.
Ledecky has been an Olympian swimmer since the age of fifteen, unexpectedly winning a gold medal in the women's 800 meter freestyle during her zestful debut at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Over the following nine years, she has won six Olympic gold medals and fifteen world championship gold medals for swimming, which is an all-time record for women's swim. As such, in Wednesday's 200 meter freestyle she was expected to dominate the category like usual.
Thus it came as a surprise when she instead finished in fifth place, with gold going to Australian dynamo Ariarne Titmus, a relative newcomer to the Olympic swimming scene. Earlier in the week, Titmus had also taken gold in the 400 meter freestyle, while Ledecky came in second place. However, rather than let these defeats wear her down, Ledecky channeled her frustration into the 1,500 meter freestyle. In an unprecedented move, Ledecky had enrolled in both the 200 meter and the 1,500 meter events, even though they took place on the same day with little resting time in between.
This proved to be no obstacle to the famous swimmer, who finished with a time of 15:37.34 minutes. Her American teammate, Erica Sullivan, came in second at 15:41.41 minutes. This was Ledecky's fastest recorded 1500 meter freestyle in more than a year, but was still nearly 15 seconds off her 2018 world record.
"People maybe feel bad that I'm not winning everything, but I want people to be more concerned about other things in the world," Ledecky said in an interview. "People are truly suffering. I'm just proud to bring home a gold medal to Team USA."
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