Katie Ledecky: 15-Year-Old Wins Gold for USA in 800-Meter Freestyle

Sam WestmorelandFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Katie Ledecky of the United States looks on ahead of the Women's 800m Freestyle heat 3 on Day 6 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 2, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

America's youngest Olympian has just shown the world what she's capable of, netting her first-ever gold medal.

Fifteen-year-old Katie Ledecky dominated the field in the 800-meter freestyle, finishing well ahead of the pack and netting herself a gold medal.

If being 15 and winning a gold medal weren't impressive enough, Ledecky also netted herself an American-record time of 8:14.63 in the race.

Big things were expected out of Ledecky in these games; she'd wowed fans during Olympic trials, finishing the 800-meter freestyle in record time. That strong run of form continued into the Games in London, where she posted the third-fastest time of any swimmer in the prelims at 8:23.84.

Little did anyone know that the youngster had plenty left in the tank after that, slicing more than nine seconds off her time in one of the more grueling races in the sport.

The scary part about Ledecky's dominance in this race is her age; she's still got plenty of upside as a racer and figures to contend for medals for years to come. Paired with fellow teen sensation Missy Franklin, Ledecky makes it clear that the future of American women's swimming is extremely bright.