At this point, Katie Ledecky against the rest of the world in the 800 free is unfair.
Four years after winning the race by four seconds Ledecky did it again, finishing in 8:04.79 in what was an even more dominant performance than what she produced in London. Ledecky broke the world record by nearly two seconds, with that mark being 8:06.68 and one she set earlier this year. As for the Olympic record, the prior mark of 8:12.86 was established by Ledecky in the qualifying heats.
Ledecky finished 11-plus seconds ahead of silver medalist Jazz Carlin of Great Britain, who posted a time of 8:16.17. Taking bronze was Boglarka Kapas of Hungary, who finished in 8:16.37. The separation between Carlin and eight-place finisher Sarah Kohler of Germany (8:27.75) was smaller than that between Ledecky and Carlin by nearly two seconds.
Ledecky has won five total medals in Rio, with four being gold, and she’s the fifth female swimmer to win at least four gold medals in a single Olympics (Missy Franklin was the most recent to do it before Friday). With this win she became the second woman ever to win the 200, 400 and 800 free in the same Olympic Games, with American Debbie Meyer doing so at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.
At the age of 19 and the owner of the 13 fastest times in the history of the 800 free, Ledecky is capable of doing even more damage in the future. At this point, it would be a shock if she didn’t.
American Leah Smith finished sixth with a time of 8:20.95.