Finally, a gold medal in Tokyo for Katie Ledecky.
The American star bounced back from the worst finish of her brilliant Olympic career to take the first-ever gold medal in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle Wednesday.
It wasn’t quite the breeze that everyone expected in the metric mile. Ledecky built a big lead right from the start, then worked hard to hold off American teammate Erica Sullivan’s blazing finish.
But it was Ledecky touching first in 15 minutes, 37.39 seconds. Sullivan claimed the silver (15:41.41), while the bronze went to Germany’s Sarah Kohler (15:42.91).
It was quite a morning at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre for Ledecky, who seemed a bit overcome by the ups and downs she experienced in a little over an hour.
She tumbled over the lane rope to give Sullivan a hug, let out an uncharacteristic scream toward the American cheering section in the mostly empty arena and seemed to be holding back tears as she pulled her goggles back down over her eyes before exiting the pool.
In her first final of the day, Ledecky was blown away by her Australian rival, Ariarne Titmus, who made it 2-for-2 over the American with a victory in the 200 free.
Ledecky didn’t even win a medal — the first time that’s ever happened to her in an Olympic race. She was far behind all the way, never getting any higher than her fifth-place finish