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Katie Ledecky captures gold in final swim of Tokyo Olympics

Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle Saturday, an event that she has dominated with two past Olympic golds and a world record.
Image: Katie Ledecky
USA's Katie Ledecky reacts after winning gold in the final of the women's 800m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, on July 31, 2021.Oli Scarff / AFP - Getty Images

Katie Ledecky did it again.

For the third Olympics in a row, the U.S. star swimmer won gold in the 800-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Games on Saturday.

Ledecky, 24, held the lead from the beginning and never lost it.

Australian Ariarne Titmus, who beat Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle Monday, was in second for much of the race. But this time, Titmus couldn't catch and posed no threat.

Titmus won silver, and Italy's Simona Quadarella earned bronze.

"It's awesome, I just wanted to finish on a really good note, and I'm so happy," Ledecky said.

After Saturday's victory in the 800, Ledecky has seven gold medals in her three Olympic appearances.

And the win adds to her domination in that race. She won gold in the event in the last two Olympics, in the 2016 Rio Games and the 2012 London Games, and she is the world record holder.

With seven golds, she is one gold medal away from the record held by American Jenny Thompson, who holds the most medals of any female swimmer in Olympics history.

Thompson won a total of 12 medals — eight gold, three silver and one bronze — over four Olympic appearances.

Ledecky made history Wednesday when she won the gold medal in the 1,500-meter freestyle in the first time that race had been open to women in the Olympics.

She also helped power the U.S. 4x200-meter relay team to a silver medal Thursday, in which the American team beat the heavily favorited Australians who came in third. China won the gold in that race.

The race was Ledecky's last in the Tokyo Games, but she is nowhere close to the end of her swimming career, she said.

"That was not my last swim. I'm at least going to '24. Maybe '28, we'll see," she said, referring to future Games.

"You never take anything for granted, you don't know if you're going to be back at the next Olympics — so just try to soak it all in," she said.