Sports

Katie Ledecky makes history with 6th individual gold, cements Olympic icon status, and she’ll be back in 2024

Some of the preposterous streaks in sports activities remained energetic Saturday morning in Tokyo: Katie Ledecky is undefeated in each 800-meter freestyle race she’s competed in for 11 years. 

Probably the most dominant feminine swimmer in historical past cemented her standing and immortalized her legend in her last race of 2021 together with her signature self-discipline. Ledecky touched the wall in 8:12.57, giving her the sixth particular person gold and tenth Olympic medal of her profession. 

Her six particular person gold medals at the moment are probably the most by any feminine U.S. Olympian ever and second-most in swimming to 1 individual: Michael Phelps could ceaselessly maintain an untouchable quantity with 13. 

However for as phenomenal as Phelps’ five-Olympiad profession was, it is Ledecky who instructions a dominance in sure elements of swimming we have merely by no means seen earlier than. Her supremacy particularly within the 800-meter freestyle may characterize probably the most inevitable any athlete has been at something … ever? Seems like hyperbole? It isn’t. It isn’t that she at all times wins, it is that she has outlined the parameters of what success is within the girls’s 800-meter freestyle. Ledecky owns the 22 best times within the historical past of the occasion. 

That is obscene authority. Her newest gold additionally meant reaching a three-peat within the 800 free. It marks simply the fourth time in historical past a swimmer has gained gold in a person self-discipline in three consecutive Olympics. (Phelps’ 4 straight within the 200-meter particular person medley has by no means been matched.)

Saturday’s 8:12.57 tempo was ho-hum by Ledecky requirements; it was merely the Sixteenth-fastest time she’s logged. Ledecky, 24, beat out rival Ariarne Titmus, 20, who was not the identical swimmer within the 800 as she was when Titmus beat Ledecky earlier within the week within the 200- and 400-meter freestyles. The Aussie hung shut your complete race however by no means actually threatened Ledecky. Titmus touched in 8:13.83. 

Think about this: Titmus’ silver-winning swim on Saturday was the quickest non-Ledecky time within the historical past of the ladies’s 800-meter freestyle. It barely bested the Twenty third-best time of Ledecky’s profession. Laughable!

And now these two will virtually definitely get to satisfy once more in three years, when the Video games will head to Paris. With that, it is probably there will be no bigger storyline for the 2024 Summer Olympics than Ledecky vs. Titmus. That is proper: Ledecky’s Olympic profession is not over. Whereas there wasn’t an excessive amount of hypothesis over this, it is nonetheless information that Ledecky went on file for the primary time at these Video games to state she just isn’t retiring. 

“That was not my final swim — I am no less than going to ’24,” Ledecky stated on NBC. “Possibly ’28, we’ll see. However I knew [the 800] was going to be my final swim right here. You by no means take something with no consideration, you do not know if you are going to be again on the subsequent Olympics, so simply attempt to soak all of it in.” 

Ledecky and Titmus wound up splitting their 4 head-to-head meets in Tokyo, with Titmus taking gold within the 200 and 400 free, whereas Ledecky gained within the 800 free and simply cruised within the first-ever Olympic 1,500-meter freestyle for ladies. (Titmus didn’t swim in that occasion.) Within the 4×200 free relay, Ledecky swam the quickest leg (1:53.76) of any swimmer to elevate the U.S. to a silver — and edge Titmus and the Australians (bronze) within the course of. 

“It is superior,” Ledecky stated on NBC. “I simply wished to complete on a extremely good word, and I am simply so completely satisfied.”

With Ledecky’s Tokyo motion now full, a recap of what she went via in a six-day stretch. These are solely the finals; we’re not even accounting for the prelims and semifinal heats she needed to swim in as properly. No swimmer logged extra laps within the pool in Tokyo than Ledecky.

  • July 26: Wins silver in 400 free; first time ever Ledecky would not win gold in a person Olympic occasion
  • July 28: Finishes fifth in 200 free
  • July 28: Lower than 90 minutes after the 200 free, wins gold in 1,500 free
  • July 29: Wins Workforce USA silver by swimming last leg — and quickest cut up amongst all swimmers — in 4×200 free relay 
  • July 31: Wins third straight gold in 800 free

4 medals in a six-day span. Ledecky was the one swimmer to compete in a “dash” race (the 200 free) and the 1,500. Consider it this fashion: You do not see observe athletes compete within the 100- or 200-meter sprint and likewise run the 1,500, or 5,000, or 10,000 meters.

She’s totally different from any Olympian we have ever watched.

It has been Ledecky’s successes, along with her not taking gold in two of the 5 occasions she competed in, that is helped remind us that Olympic greatness might be about transcendent dominance — but additionally shortcomings that humanize these athletes. An necessary side of the Olympics is that they permit for non-binary outcomes (not only one winner and all losers, however three medals at hand out) and make sports activities followers — American sports activities followers specifically — rethink what elite achievement is. Katie Ledecky just isn’t undefeated within the pool; nobody ever is. However she’s particular and in contrast to anybody we have seen earlier than. She’s beatable, however she’s distinctive. And with this displaying in Tokyo — two extra golds, two extra silvers — Ledecky has unequivocally elevated herself to her personal tier of Olympic greatness. 

She did not want to comb and take 5 golds to get there. A lesson to be utilized. 

The perfect half is it is not over. Ledecky wasn’t the drive of nature in Tokyo that she was in Rio in 2016, which was clearly her peak. However within the presence of a real foil in Titmus, and with a race routine that was viciously grueling, Ledecky proved she has no analog.

https://www.cbssports.com/olympics/information/katie-ledecky-makes-history-with-Sixth-individual-gold-cements-olympic-icon-status-and-shell-be-back-in-2024/ | Katie Ledecky makes historical past with Sixth particular person gold, cements Olympic icon standing, and she or he’ll be again in 2024

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