Olympics: Katie Ledecky finally gets the gold and a place in history after women’s 1500-meter freestyle event

Tokyo, Japan - US swimmer Katie Ledecky finally grabbed her first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics after she swam to victory in the Women’s 1500-meter freestyle on Wednesday.

Katie Ledecky (r) of the USA celebrates with Erica Sullivan (r) at the end of the Women's 1500-meter freestyle final.
Katie Ledecky (r) of the USA celebrates with Erica Sullivan (r) at the end of the Women's 1500-meter freestyle final.  © IMAGO / AAP

Ledecky (24) had two opportunities to win a gold medal so far in Tokyo. The top spot on the podium had eluded her after she was twice beaten by Aussie rival Ariarne Titmus, first in the Women’s 400-meter freestyle on Monday, and then again in Wednesday's 200-meter freestyle, a race where she previously won gold in at the 2016 Rio summer games.

That second race also marked her lowest ever Olympic finish, as she ended in fifth place, far behind Titmus.

But when it came time for the 1500-meter final, Katie Ledecky delivered big time. She was in the zone and was looking to finally swim at the level fans were used to seeing from her. By the midway point of the race, Ledecky was at least three seconds ahead of any other swimmer.

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Coming in at first place, she finished with a time of 15 minutes and 37.34 seconds. She was followed up by fellow American Erica Sullivan for the silver at 15 minutes and 41.41 seconds, while Sarah Kohler of Germany completed the podium with a bronze.

As this was the first time the "metric mile" race was added to the women’s program, Ledecky has entered Olympic history by becoming the event's first Olympic champion.

The United States also earned a couple more medals in swimming, as Alex Walsh earned silver (2:08.65), and Kate Douglass grabbed the bronze (2:09.04) in the women's 400-meter individual medley.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Shutterstock

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