U.S. star Katie Ledecky stormed to her third straight Olympic 800-meter freestyle title Saturday with a dominant swim to bank her fourth Tokyo medal.
The 24-year-old touched in 8:12.57 to outpace Australian archrival Ariarne Titmus, who clocked a personal best 8:13.83 to earn silver ahead of Italy’s Simona Quadarella at 8:18.35.
Ledecky’s young teammate Katie Grimes, just 15, was fourth, signaling she has a big future ahead.
“It’s awesome, I wanted to finish on a really good note,” said Ledecky, who was bent over in exhaustion. “I’m so happy and I’m in a lot pain too.”
Titmus had dethroned her over both 200 meters and 400 meters, but her rival is the undisputed queen of the longer distances, having already won the inaugural 1,500-meter gold.
She has imposed her will on the rest of the world over 800 meters since 2012, winning the event at the London and Rio Olympics along with four straight world championship titles.
Ledecky flew out of the blocks and was leading at the first 50 meters, never relinquishing the lead despite a gallant effort by Titmus to reel her in.
She leaves Tokyo after winning gold over 800 meters and 1,500 meters and taking silver behind Titmus in the 400 meters. She was also part of the American 4×200-meter relay team that was second to world record-breaking China.
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