A Katie Ledecky-led U.S. relay broke the world record in the 4x200-meter freestyle on Thursday ... and lost.
The race was expected to be a showdown between the favored Australians and the Americans, and to some degree it played out that way. Both bested the world record (7:41.50) set by Australia in 2019. But so did China, bettering the two powerhouses in a somewhat stunning upset.
China came in at 7:40.33, just head of the Americans (7:40.73) and Australians (7:41.29).
The Chinese led at the jump, but the Aussies took the lead on the second leg. The Americans, meanwhile, languished in a battle for third with Canada for much of the race. By the third leg, China and Australia were locked in what looked like a two-team battle for gold. By the time Ledecky launched herself off the blocks on the anchor leg, the Americans were 1.94 back.
But Ledecky is a legend for a reason, even if she'd been dethroned in the 200 by Australia's Ariarne Titmus. Ledecky caught Australia's Leah Neale at the 100 mark, then set her sites on China's Binjie Li. Ledecky nearly caught her, clocking a blistering final leg of 1:53.76, .61 faster than anyone in the field and nearly two seconds faster than she swam in the individual 200m free final where she lost to Titmus. But ultimately she ran out of room.
For the American foursome of Ledecky, Allison Schmitt, Paige Madden and Katie McLaughlin it was a world-record effort that ended in a silver medal.
Katie Ledecky won another gold medal, this time in the women's 800-meter freestyle.
After the race, Ledecky laughed when NBC's Michele Tafoya asked if she was considering retirement.
"Oh that was not my last swim," Ledecky said. "I'm at least going to '24, maybe '28."
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Katie Ledecky has won gold.
This time, the American superstar swimmer took gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle, an event she has dominated for almost a decade. It was her third straight gold medal at the event, having first won at London 2012.
Having won 7 Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship gold medals, the most in history for a female swimmer, she is widely considered the greatest female swimmer of all time. She talks to the Olympic Channel about her accomplishments, always looking to improve, and Tara VanDerveer.
Katie Ledecky On Her Bond With Simone Biles And Michael Phelps
Katie Ledecky is reflecting on her incredible run at the Tokyo Olympics. The swimming phenom shares with Access Hollywood’s Scott Evans how she’s processing taking home four medals for Team USA this week, including two golds, and if she’s already thinking about her next competitive outing.
Katie also reveals that Michael Phelps texted her after one of her races and shares how proud she is of Simone Biles. And, Katie dishes on which TV show she would love to appear on and if she has a certain celebrity in mind to play her in a movie about her life.
What does an Olympian do after they take home four medals? They eat a burger, of course.
Swimming sensation Katie Ledecky did just that when her time in the pool was over at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ultimately winning two gold medals and two silver medals. Yeah, it's safe to say the 24-year-old definitely earned her post-match indulgence, though it wasn't her usual go-to celebratory meal.
"I only had about an hour to get ready [for interviews], so I literally just had cereal on a PB&J," Katie recently told E! News of her first meal after her final competition at the Olympics. "That night though for dinner I was doing media somewhere else and they had a lot better food. So I did get a hamburger there and that was great!"
And that's not the only secret she's spilling. Katie also opened up about her intense training schedule, what a day of eating typically looks like for her and the surprising way Katie—who recently partnered with BIC Soleil Razor—and her teammates like to prepare for their matches. Hint: It may or may not be a shaving party.
And will she make another splash at the 2024 Games in Paris? Well, you'll just have to wait and see…