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Ledecky wins gold at Tokyo Games in women’s 1500m freestyle

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TOKYO – Katie Ledecky finally took home a gold medal in Tokyo.

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The American star returned from the worst achievement of her brilliant Olympic career to triumph her first-ever gold medal in the women’s 1500m freestyle on Wednesday.

It wasn’t the breeze everyone expected in the metric mile. Ledecky built a big lead from the start, then worked firm to put fellow American Erica Sullivan off the finish.

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But it was Ledecky who first touched in 15 minutes 37.39 seconds. The silver medal was taken by Sullivan (15:41.41), while the bronze went to Germany’s Sarah Koehler (15:42.91).

It was a silent morning at the Tokyo Aquatics Center in Ledecky, which seemed to overpower a little ups and downs it had experienced in just over an hour.

American Katie Ledecky celebrates winning the women's 1500m freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.  (AP Photo / Matthias Schrader)

American Katie Ledecky celebrates winning the women’s 1500m freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo / Matthias Schrader)

She stumbled over the lane rope to hug Sullivan, and let out an uncharacteristic shriek toward the American cheering section of the mostly unload plaza, seeming to grip back tears as she pulled her glasses down over her eyes prior exiting the pool.

In her first final of the day, Ledecky was blown away by her Australian rival, Ariarn Titmus, who made it 2 to 2 over the American with a triumph in the 200 freestyle.

Ledecky did not triumph a medal – the first time this had happened to her in an Olympic race. She was late all the way, never getting any higher than fifth.

The Australian known as the Terminator awarded the Australian woman her third individual swimming gold with an Olympic record of 1:53.50, adding to her thrilling 400 freestyle triumph.

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In the longest race, Titmus maintained her energy during the first half, then rose to pass Ledecky with the second fastest performance in history.

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The defending Olympic champion made his first heart in seventh and finished in 1:55.21 – nearly two seconds behind the winner.

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Hogi led most of the race prior clinging to the silver medal with a time of 1:53.92. The bronze went to Canadian Benny Oleksiak with a time of 1:54.70.

“Obviously a distinguished swim in the 400 gives me the confidence to get to the 200,” Titmus said. “I thought my rear end was definitely my strength in the 400. I knew I could get that on my way home in the 200.”

Titmus wasn’t too happy with her time, but she was pleasing enough for another gold.

“Honestly, it’s not the time I thought I could do this morning, but it’s the Olympics and there’s a lot of other things going on,” she said. “So it’s just about winning here. I’m very happy.”

Italian Federica Pellegrini finished seventh in her fifth and final Olympics. She won the gold medal in 2008 and is still the world record holder.

The Americans also took home two medals in the women’s 200 men’s medley – but not the ones they wanted.

Japan’s Yui Ohashi completed her IM sweep by defeating Americans Alex Walsh and Kate Douglas, adding to her 400m triumph.

The winning time was 2: 08.52. Walsh took the silver with a time of 2: 08.65, while Douglas took the bronze with a time of 2: 09.04.

Hungarian defending Olympic champion and world record holder Katinka Hoszow finished seventh. She was the oldest swimmer in the final at 32 years old.

American Katie Ledecky prepares to swim in the women's 200m freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.  (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

American Katie Ledecky prepares to swim in the women’s 200m freestyle final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

There were no surprises in the men’s 200 butterfly race, as Christoph Milak of Hungary pulled off a dominant – but nerve-wracking – triumph.

Milak won the gold by nearly two lengths despite having to hastily change suits prior the race, which cost him a chance to burst his own world record.

Melak said he realized about 10 minutes prior he walked onto the deck that his suit had been damaged. He told Hungarian reporters that he had completely lost focus, although it was firm to distinguish from his performance in the pool.

Lifting the suit in the mixed area, he put his finger in a tear prior throwing it on the table in disgust.

Milak still touches an Olympic record of 1:51.25 – more than half a second off his 2019 world record (1:50.73) but two and a half seconds short of the silver medalist.

Japan’s Tomorrow Honda finished with a time of 1:53.73, while the bronze went to Italian Federico Bordiso (1:54.45).

South Africa’s Chad Le Clos finished fifth. He won the 200 fly-by at the 2012 London Olympics, which perturb Michael Phelps, but he was no match for the Hungarian superstar.


Caleb Dressel rebounded during the semi-finals of the 100th Freestyle, his first of three singles events. The American star scored the second fastest time (47.23), behind Russian Kliment Kolesnikov (47.11).

“That’s what I expected,” Dressel said. “It will be a quick final.”

He got rid of the opinion that it is a lock for gold.

“I’ve never been a fan of Favorites,” Dressel said. “It’s going to be a really fun race. I’m really looking forward to it. I unkind, there’s honestly eight guys in contention, so it’s going to be interesting for everyone to watch. You guys (in the media) must be jealous to get into it.”


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