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USA's Katie Ledecky Three-Peats And Wins Olympic Gold Again In 800-Meter Freestyle

Katie Ledecky of Team USA reacts after winning gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Saturday.
Al Bello
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Getty Images
Katie Ledecky of Team USA reacts after winning gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Saturday.

TOKYO — American swimmer Katie Ledecky is once again the Olympic champion at the 800-meter freestyle.

She touched the wall first at 8:12.57, besting her Australian rival Ariarne Titmus who cruised to silver at 8:13.83. Italy's Simona Quadarella took the bronze. American Katie Grimes was fourth.

It was Ledecky's second individual gold at the Tokyo Olympics, after her win in the 1,500-meter freestyle.

And it was another showdown between Ledecky and Titmus.

"I'm really, really thrilled to have that kind of competition and something that fuels me. And I know it fuels her as well," Ledecky said of the rivalry.

She won silver behind Titmus in the 400-meter freestyle. Titmus also won gold in the 200-meter freestyle, a race in which Ledecky placed fifth.

"I knew she was just going to be lurking there the whole time," Ledecky said after the race today. "And I knew I had to have a little gap because if we were neck and neck going in the last 100, I know she has that finish."

Ledecky won Olympic gold in the 800-meter freestyle in London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

"It's tough to win one gold, and to do it three times in a row in that event is amazing."

This isn't the end for Ledecky. She plans to try to compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024 — "and maybe beyond as well."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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As NPR's Southern Bureau chief, Russell Lewis covers issues and people of the Southeast for NPR — from Florida to Virginia to Texas, including West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. His work brings context and dimension to issues ranging from immigration, transportation, and oil and gas drilling for NPR listeners across the nation and around the world.
Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.