Ledecky’s Legacy

After a silver and a missed podium, Katie Ledecky returned to her rightful place at the top.

The 24-year-old, arguably the greatest distance swimmer of all time, captured gold in the first-ever Olympic women’s 1500-meter freestyle on Tuesday.

Ledecky’s sixth career gold pulled her within two of Jenny Thompson’s record for most all-time by an American woman.

  • The medal was Ledecky’s eighth total after her silver in this week’s 400M free.
  • She won gold — and set an American record at age 15 — in the 800 free at London 2012.
  • She swept her individual events at Rio 2016 — the 200, 400 (world record), and 800 (world record) — and added a gold in the 4×200 relay.

The Washington, D.C., native was overcome with emotion following the 1500 victory.

She was supposed to dominate, but after missing gold in both the 200 and 400, the expectations were even higher.

“The biggest pressure I have is the pressure I put on myself, and I feel like I’ve gotten past that over the years,” Ledecky said.

Her continued success in the pool will likely lead to more endorsement opportunities. Deals with swimwear company TYR, adidas, Panasonic, and VISA have contributed to her estimated net worth of $4 million.

Ledecky has two more opportunities at securing gold in Tokyo: The 4x200M relay on Wednesday and the 800M freestyle on Friday.