Katie Ledecky: The golden child of the Rio Olympics

Swimming sensation Katie Ledecky left Rio with four gold medals, but there is still more left for one of the greatest athletes to accomplish.

Although it has been a week since the 2016 Rio Olympics came to a close, the Games are still the talk of the town. While the women of Team USA had a remarkable Olympics all around, there is one athlete everyone will be talking about for years to come: Katie Ledecky.

The swimming phenom had one of, if not the best, performances in the history of the Olympic Games. At just 19 years old, the swimming megastar is fresh off of completing her second Olympics, where she accomplished more in one Games than most Olympians hope to do in their entire careers.

Ledecky’s specialty is the distance events, which consists of the 400m and 800m freestyles, with the addition to the 200m. In Rio, she managed to not only win gold medals in all three individual events, but she broke both Olympic and world records in both the 400m and 800m freestyle.

First came her new Olympic record in each event during the preliminary heats. As if that wasn’t enough, Ledecky managed to break her own world records in the 400m and 800m, where she outswam the competition by a mile. In the 400m final, she finished four seconds faster than the silver medalist.

However, it was the 800m freestyle that has gone on to be one of the most iconic moments of her career so far, when she shattered the world record, as well as the rest of the competition, by a full 12 seconds. Ledecky shocked people all over the world when it appeared she wasn’t racing her fellow Olympians, but rather herself.

When the 19-year-old Stanford swimmer jumped in the pool on the first night in Rio, it was clear she was on a mission. Ledecky continuously pushed herself to become faster and faster in each race, surprising everyone by only surpassing her very own former world records with new ones.

This swimmer not only chases history, but she is history. She became the first woman to sweep the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle races at the same Olympics since 1968. Ledecky has achieved so much at such a young age; it’s almost impossible to imagine if there is anything left to challenge her.

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics already on her mind, Ledecky has set her sights on tackling the 400m individual medley, an event she has never done in competition before. The determination and work ethic she displays every time she hits the pool will certainly be an asset in her quest to master the most grueling event in swimming.

As one of the greatest athletes of all time, there is nothing Ledecky can’t do.

Taylor Vecchioni