Ledecky wins 1500 freestyle
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

(TOKYO) - When Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky finally saw that familiar number next to her name, the emotions flooded to the surface at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. She tumbled over the lane rope to give her runner-up and teammate Erica Sullivan a hug. She let out an uncharacteristic scream toward the American cheering section in the mostly empty arena. Finally, as the tears seemed ready to flow, she pulled the goggles back down over her eyes before exiting the pool. On her third try at these Summer Games, Ledecky finally touched first. Bouncing back from the worst finish of her brilliant Olympic career, Ledecky claimed the first-ever gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle on Wednesday. About an hour earlier, she was blown away by Australia's "Terminator," Ariarne Titmus, who made it 2-for-2 in their rivalry with a victory in the 200-meter freestyle. Ledecky didn't even win a medal in the 200 free, the first time that has ever happened to her in an Olympic race. She was far behind all the way, never getting any higher than her fifth-place finish. It was actually the first time Ledecky finished outside the top two in an event in her Olympic career. The metric mile wasn't quite the breeze that everyone expected, given Ledecky's longtime dominance in an event that was finally added to the Olympic program for these Games. She built a big lead right from the start, then worked hard to hold off Sullivan's blazing finish. But it was Ledecky touching first in 15 minutes, 37.39 seconds. Sullivan claimed the silver (15:41.41), and the bronze went to Germany's Sarah Kohler (15:42.91).