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Katie Ledecky Wins Gold Medal During Women's 800M Freestyle at 2021 Olympics

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 31, 2021

Katie Ledecky reacts after the women's 800 freestyle during wave 2 of the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials on Saturday, June 19, 2021, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Katie Ledecky's historic success in the women's 800-meter freestyle continued at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday. 

The American superstar took home the gold medal in her final event of this year's Games with a time of 8:12.57. Australia's Ariarne Titmus, who got the best of Ledecky in the 400 meters, won the silver medal. 

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

A THREE-PEAT for LEDECKY! Gold in London, Rio, and now TOKYO in the women's 800m freestyle for @KatieLedecky! #TokyoOlympics x @TeamUSA 📺: NBC 💻: https://t.co/Hne9Yk1CKr 📱: NBC Sports App https://t.co/Yw613YyWi6

Ledecky already made history with her win in the 1500 meters, so this victory is just adding to her legacy. She joined Jenny Thompson (1992-2004), Krisztina Egerszegi (1988-96) and Dawn Fraser (1956-64) as the only women swimmers to win individual gold medals at three different Olympics. 

All eyes were focused on Ledecky leading up to the event. She won her qualifier on June 19 with a time of 8:14.62, a record time in U.S. women's qualifying for the 800 meters. She finished 5.74 seconds ahead of runner-up Katie Grimes. 

The 800-meter freestyle has been the 24-year-old's hallmark event since 2012. Her first appearance on the United States team came when she qualified with a time of 8:19.78, more than two seconds faster than the second-place finisher (Kate Ziegler, 8:21.87). 

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

So what you're saying is... #TokyoOlympics x @TeamUSA 📺: NBC 💻: https://t.co/Hne9Yk1CKr 📱: NBC Sports App https://t.co/4TbBR55NZQ

Ledecky followed that up with her breakthrough moment on the worldwide stage. She set a new American record in the final with a time of 8:14.63 to win gold at the Rio Games. 

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After dominating the world championships and Pan Pacific Championships from 2013-15, the Washington D.C. native returned to the Olympics in 2016. 

Ledecky had a historic run in London, winning five medals in total and four gold. Her individual wins in the 200, 400 and 800 meters made her the first athlete to accomplish the feat since Debbie Meyer in 1968.   

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