Leader of the pack. Katie Ledecky demolished her own world record in the 800-meter freestyle race at the Rio Olympics on Friday, August 12, taking home her fourth gold medal and breaking her second world record.
“It’s been so much fun these past four years,” the 19-year-old athlete told reporters several minutes after her triumphant victory. “The memories mean a lot more than the medals to me. It’s just been a lot of fun.” According to the site, Ledecky then apologized for getting choked up as her emotions got the best of her. “Sorry,” she said.
Just moments prior, Ledecky had beat out her own world record by nearly two seconds with a final time of 8 minutes, 4.79 seconds, 11 seconds ahead of Great Britain’s Jazz Carlin, who came in second.
Photos of the swimmer make it look as though she were swimming in the pool by herself, so far ahead she was of the rest of her competitors.
“She’s an incredible athlete and she is going so fast, it leaves the rest of us having to scrape for the rest of the medals,” Carlin told the Los Angeles Times.
Ledecky’s Friday win completes her sweep of three events at the same Olympics — the 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle, on top of the 800 — making her the first woman to do so since U.S. swimmer Debbie Meyer did so at Mexico City in 1968. (She also anchored the gold-medal-winning 800-meter freestyle relay and helped win the silver medal for the 400-meter freestyle relay.)
Asked by reporters whether she was sad that the Rio Olympics was over, the Olympic athlete replied, “In some ways. I had so much fun this week. I know we’re all going to miss being here.”
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