Tokyo 2020: Daily Pac-12 guide to the Olympic Games (July 28)
Katie Ledecky (STANFORD) made history Wednesday when she became the first gold medal winner in the inaugural women’s 1,500-meter freestyle at the Olympics.
Ledecky finished the race at 15:37.34, four seconds before second-place finisher and Team USA teammate, Erica Sullivan, who finished at 15:41.41.
“I'm so happy to go one-two with Erica,” Ledecky said. “It is the first women's 1,500 [freestyle in Olympic history], so I couldn’t have a better outcome than that. I’m so, so happy."
The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board announced in 2017 that it had added the event, a race men had been competing in for years at the Games.
Ledecky holds the world record (15:20.48), which she broke in 2018 at the TYR Indianapolis Pro Swim Series.
It was an important victory and confidence booster after her performance in the 200-meter freestyle earlier in the day.
Ledecky finished fifth in that event’s final. It was the lowest she has ever placed in the Olympics and the first time she didn’t earn a medal in a race in her Olympic career.
"After the 200, I knew I had to turn the page very quickly, and in the warm-down pool, I was just thinking of my family,” she said. “Each stroke, I was thinking of my grandparents. They're the toughest four people I know, and that's what helped me get through that."
With just a 70-minute break between her two events, Ledecky had to test herself emotionally and physically.
She will be looking to add another gold medal tonight when she competes in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
Ledecky is already one of the most decorated swimmers of all time, with six Olympic gold medals and two silver medals. She needs two more golds to tie Jenny Thompson for most gold medals all-time by a female swimmer in the Olympics.
“It means a lot,” Ledecky said about winning gold. “People maybe feel bad that I'm not winning everything, but I want people to be more concerned about other things in the world. People are truly suffering. I'm just proud to bring home a gold medal to Team USA.”
» The U.S. women’s 3x3 basketball team was dominant in the inaugural year of the sport in the Olympics. Team USA went 8-1 during the Games and beat the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 18-15 in the gold medal game.
» Men’s beach volleyball swept Switzerland in straight sets (21-19, 23-21) on Wednesday to improve to 2-0. This U.S. team features Olympic newcomer Tri Bourne (USC) and four-time Olympian Jake Gibb (UTAH). The duo’s next match will be against Qatar on Saturday.
Looking Ahead: Ledecky will be competing for another gold medal Wednesday in the women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay final at 8:31 p.m. PT. She will race in her qualifying heat of the 800-meter freestyle on Thursday at 3:34 a.m. PT.
Quote of the Day: “I think this was the most difficult because of the journey. I think I have said it before but I thought this was not in the cards for me once I tore my achilles. I tore it in June and once the Olympics got postponed, and then I had enough time, and then I thought they were going to get canceled. So then to be able to rehab and come here and keep our team … A lot of things happened, and a lot of people that make it happen. I just feel super blessed.” - Kelsey Plum (WASHINGTON).
Prince James Story is a journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a collaboration between the Pac-12 Conference and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
A schedule of NBC’s Olympic coverage can be found on NBCOlympics.com/full-schedule.
Wednesday, July 28
Golf: Men's Stroke Play Round 1 - 3:30 p.m. PT
- China: Carl Yuan (WASH)
- Chinese Taipei: C.T. Pan (WASH)
- Great Britain: Paul Casey (ASU)
- Slovakia: Rory Sabbatini (ARIZ)
- USA: Collin Morikawa (CAL)
Rowing: Men's Pair Final B - 4:30 p.m. PT
- Netherlands: Niki van Sprang (CAL)
Rowing: Women's Pair Final B - 4:40 p.m. PT
- USA: Megan Kalmoe (WASH)
Beach Volleyball (W): United States vs. Kenya - 5 p.m. PT
- USA: Kelly Claes (USC), Sarah Sponcil (UCLA)
Rowing: Men's Pair Final A - 5:18 p.m. PT (**Medal Opportunity**)
- Canada: Conlin McCabe (WASH)
- Denmark: Joachim Sutton (CAL)
- Serbia: Martin Mackovic (CAL)
Cycling (M): BMX Racing Quarterfinals - 6 p.m. PT
- USA: Corben Sharrah (ARIZ)
Basketball (W): Canada vs. Republic of Korea - 6 p.m. PT
- Canada: Nirra Fields (UCLA), Kim Gaucher (UTAH), Shaina Pellington (ARIZ)
Rowing: Women's Single Sculls A/B Semifinal 2 - 6:50 p.m. PT
- USA: Kara Kohler (CAL)
Swimming: Women's 100 Free Semifinal 1 - 6:53 p.m. PT
- USA: Abbey Weitzeil (CAL)
Rowing: Men's Single Sculls A/B Semifinal 1 - 7 p.m. PT
- Italy: Gennaro di Mauro (CAL)
Swimming: Men's 200 Back Semifinal 2 - 7:11 p.m. PT
- USA: Ryan Murphy (CAL)
Swimming: Women's 200 Fly Final - 8 p.m. PT (**Medal Opportunity**)
- USA: Hali Flickinger (ASU), Regan Smith (STAN)
Rowing: Women's Single Sculls C/D Semifinal 1 - 8 p.m. PT
- Puerto Rico: Veronica Toro Arana (STAN)
Swimming: Men's 200 IM Semifinal 2 - 8:14 p.m. PT
- Spain: Hugo Gonzalez (CAL)
Swimming: Women's 4x200 Free Relay Final - 8:31 p.m. PT (**Medal Opportunity**)
Men's Water Polo: United States vs. Italy - 10 p.m. PT
- USA: Alex Bowen (STAN), Luca Cupido (CAL), Hannes Daube (USC), Ben Hallock (STAN), Drew Holland (STAN), Johnny Hooper (CAL), Max Irving (UCLA), Marko Vavic (USC), Alex Wolf (UCLA), Dylan Woodhead (STAN)
Tennis (Mixed Doubles): Japan vs. ROC - 11 p.m. PT
- Japan: Ena Shibahara (UCLA), Ben McLachlan (CAL)
Thursday, July 29
Basketball (W): Spain vs. Serbia - 1:20 a.m. PT
- Spain: Maite Cazorla (ORE)
- Serbia: Angela Dugalic (UCLA)
Men's Water Polo: Greece vs. Japan - 2:20 a.m. PT
- Greece: Kostas Genidounias (USC)
Baseball: Israel vs. Republic of Korea - 3 a.m. PT
- Israel: Jeremy Bleich (STAN), Ian Kinsler (ASU), Ben Wanger (USC), Zack Weiss (UCLA)
Swimming: Women's 800 Free Heats - 3 a.m. PT
- Austria: Marlene Kahler (USC) - Heat 2
- USA: Katie Ledecky (STAN) - Heat 4
Swimming: Men's 100 Fly Heats - 3:43 a.m. PT
- Italy: Santo Condorelli (USC) - Heat 6
- ROC: Andrei Minakov (STAN) - Heat 8
- Sinapore: Zheng Wen Quah (CAL) - Heat 4
- Trinidad & Tobago: Dylan Carter (USC) - Heat 3
Gymnastics: Women's All-Around Final - 3:50 a.m. PT **Medal Opportunity**)
- USA: Jade Carey (OSU)
- Canada: Brooklyn Moors (UCLA)
Men's Water Polo: Australia vs. Serbia - 3:50 a.m. PT
- Australia: Joel Dennerley (USC), Lachlan Edwards (USC), Blake Edwards (USC)
Swimming: Women's 200 Back Heats - 4:05 a.m. PT
- Canada: Taylor Ruck (STAN) - Heat 4
- Hungary: Katinka Hosszu (USC) - Heat 3
- Seychelles: Felicity Passon (ARIZ) - Heat 1
Swimming: Men's 4x100 Medley Relay - 4:21 a.m. PT
Volleyball (W): United States vs. Tunisia - 5:45 a.m. PT
- USA: Foluke Akinradewo (STAN)