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Katie Ledecky wins gold medal in 1,500 freestyle at Tokyo Olympics, US teammate Erica Sullivan takes silver

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 7/28/2021 Christine Brennan, USA TODAY
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TOKYO — America’s Katie Ledecky has done it again. The most versatile swimmer at these Olympic Games won a gold medal in the first-ever women's 1,500-meter freestyle, a little more than an hour after finishing fifth in the 200.

Ledecky finished the 1,500 in 15:37.34, followed by U.S. teammate Erica Sullivan, 4.07 seconds back. Germany's Sarah Kohler took bronze.

“I think people maybe feel bad for me that I’m not winning everything but I want people to be more concerned about other things going on in the world where people are truly suffering," Ledecky said after her 1,500 race. "I’m just proud to bring home a gold medal to Team USA.”

a man in a pool of water: Katie Ledecky celebrates after winning the women's 1,500-meter freestyle final during the Tokyo Olympics. © Rob Schumacher, USA TODAY Sports Katie Ledecky celebrates after winning the women's 1,500-meter freestyle final during the Tokyo Olympics.

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Ledecky was clearly thrilled for Sullivan, 20, to reach the podium. Sullivan, competing in her first Olympics, has looked up to Ledecky. 


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“She’s such a bad chick. She’s such a cool human being," Sullivan said. "She’s a legend and she’ll forever be a legend. The fact that I get to swim in the same generation as her is so wonderful.”

It's the sixth gold medal of Ledecky's career after she made her debut as a 15-year-old at the 2012 Olympics, winning the women's 800 in London.

Wednesday marked the first time women have been allowed to swim the 1,500 at the Olympic Games. Ledecky was the strong favorite for the gold medal in the event.

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Earlier in the morning, Ledecky swam the 200 in 1:55.21, finishing 1.71 seconds behind Australian Ariarne Titmus, who won in an Olympic record 1:53.50, and claimed her second gold medal of these Games. 

Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong took silver, .42 of a second behind Titmus, followed by Penny Oleksiak of Canada. 

Ledecky, already the most decorated female swimmer in history, won the silver medal in the 400 freestyle Monday with her second-best time ever, beaten only by the swim of a lifetime by Titmus.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Katie Ledecky wins gold medal in 1,500 freestyle at Tokyo Olympics, US teammate Erica Sullivan takes silver

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