Katie Ledecky Wins Silver Medal During Women's 400M Freestyle at 2021 Olympics

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 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 is an Olympic medalist.


The 24-year-old added to her already-legendary resume by taking home the silver medal in Sunday's (Monday in Japan) thrilling 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics. She joined Australia's Ariarne Titmus (gold) and China's Li Bingjie (bronze) on the podium.

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

Australia's Ariarne Titmus wins the Olympic gold medal in the women's 400m free. @KatieLedecky gets the silver, earning her first Olympic medal of these #TokyoOlympics. 📺 NBC 💻 https://t.co/XznsNz3Xze 📱 NBC Sports App https://t.co/HDzi46SjJG

Christine Brennan @cbrennansports

What a race! https://t.co/VtesTabfVi

Dean Boxall, Titmus' coach, had a hard time containing his emotions as Titmus won gold:

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

when the preworkout kicks in #TokyoOlympics https://t.co/xkU7zyF0gG

It was widely expected to be a two-woman race heading into the Games between Ledecky and Titmus, and it did not disappoint.

The American held the lead halfway through the race, but Titmus closed the gap in the next 100 meters and then turned in a strong finishing kick to take home the gold in impressive fashion.

As for Ledecky, this was her first event of these Games as she looks to make history.

There was more at stake than just the individual events for the Stanford product in Tokyo, as The Athletic noted she had the opportunity to "become the most decorated female Olympian ever." She entered the Olympics four gold medals behind former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's all-time mark of nine.

Ledecky captured gold in the 800-meter freestyle when she was just 15 years old in the 2012 London Games and then took home four more gold medals during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where she also won a silver.

One of her golds in 2016 came in the 400-meter freestyle event, but a repeat victory was far from a guarantee in Tokyo.

Torrey Hart of NBCOlympics.com noted in June that Ledecky's winning time of 4:01.27 at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials that clinched her spot on the team was slower than the 3:56.90 time from Titmus at the latter's Olympic trials.

That time was also notably close to Ledecky's world-record 3:56.46 she posted in the 2016 Olympics. What's more, Titmus defeated the Washington D.C. native in the 400-meter freestyle during the 2019 World Aquatics Championships.

That was the backdrop for the highly anticipated showdown in Tokyo, and Titmus got the best of her rival. 

Ledecky, who is also an 18-time medalist at the world championships with 15 golds, will now turn her attention toward the 200-meter freestyle competition as she looks to continue taking home medals in her third Olympics.


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