Ariarne Titmus of Team Australia competes in the 200m freestyle final on July 28. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus has now won gold twice at the Tokyo Games, and both times, she beat out the defending Olympic champion in the event: American swimming legend Katie Ledecky.
Two days after taking gold in the women’s 400m freestyle, Titmus on Wednesday won the women’s 200m freestyle, finishing with an Olympic record time of 1:53.50.
Ledecky finished fifth. It was the first time the American had failed to make the podium in an individual Olympic event.
Ledecky is regarded as the most dominant female swimmer ever. She won gold in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events at the 2016 Rio Games. Before that, she took gold in the 800m freestyle at London 2012. Ledecky won silver in the 400m freestyle on Monday at the Tokyo Games.
She’s also considered one of swimming’s most versatile competitors. Though her best events are distance, her range, if compared to sprinting, would be like Usain Bolt running in the 200m, 400m, and 1500m events.
Dominant display: If Ledecky’s disappointing finish in the 200m freestyle fueled talk of her demise, her commanding performance just minutes later may force the doubters to think twice.
Ledecky crushed the field in the first-ever women’s 1500m freestyle event, finishing more than four seconds ahead of fellow American Erica Sullivan to take gold. That’s all the more impressive given at times, she was barely using her legs. One team USA staffer said Ledecky was saving her energy, because she has two events left to go.
Ledecky will compete in the 800m freestyle and is considered a favorite to win that, too.
By the time she’s done in Tokyo, Ledecky will have swum a stunning 6,000 meters (3.7 miles) by the time she is finished competing. To put that in context, Michael Phelps swam a total of 3,300 meters when he won eight golds at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.