Katie Ledecky in Rio – the Possibilities

Katie Ledecky has won “only” one Olympic gold medal, that in the 2012 800 metre freestyle. However, her performances at the 2014 Pan Pacs (5 golds) and 2015 World Championships (5 golds), and her 11 world record swims over the past 3 years, portend well for what she may achieve in Rio. She will likely swim the 200, 400, and 800 freestyles, and possibly both freestyle relays. She will be heavily favored in the 400 and 800 freestyles, and probably a co-favorite in the 200 free. The USA will likely be favored in the 4×200 freestyle relay, but are longshots to win the 4×100 free relay, as Australia is the team to beat in that event. Here are some of the swimming records that Ledecky could chase in the pool at Rio de Janeiro.

If She Wins 1 Individual Gold Medal in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Become the 6th American woman to win individual swimming gold medals at 2 Olympics, after Martha Norelius (1924/1928), Janet Evans (1988/1992), Brooke Bennett (1996/2000), Natalie Coughlin (2004/2008), and Rebecca Soni (2008/2012).

If She Wins 2 Individual Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =2nd among @TeamUSA female swimmers with 3 individual gold medals, trailing only Janet Evans, who won 4 in 1988-92. Ledecky would become tied with Debbie Meyer (1968) and Brooke Bennett (1996-2000).
  • Move to =6th among all Olympic female swimmers with 3 individual gold medals. The record is 5, held by Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi, while 4 females have won 4 individual Olympic swimming golds – Janet Evans (USA), Kristin Otto (GDR), Inge de Bruijn (NED), and Yana Klochkova (UKR).

If She Wins 3 Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =3rd among USA female swimmers with 4 Olympic gold medals, trailing Jenny Thompson (8), Amy Van Dyken (6), and tieing Janet Evans, Dara Torres, Missy Franklin, and Dana Vollmer.
  • Move to =4th among @TeamUSA Olympians, any sport, with 4 Olympic gold medals, trailing Thompson and Van Dyken, as above, and Bonnie Blair (SSK with  5), and tied with 12 other USA women.
  • Move to =3rd among @TeamUSA Olympians, any sport, with 3 Olympic golds at one Olympics, trailing only swimmers Missy Franklin (2012) and Amy Van Dyken (1996), with 4 each, and tied with 22 other USA women, including 17 swimmers.

If She Wins 3 Individual Gold Medals (200-400-800) in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =7th among all female Olympians (any sport) with the most individual gold medals with 4. The record is 7 by Věra Čáslavská (TCH) in gymnastics, with Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) and Lidiya Skoblikova (URS-SSK) having won 6 individual golds.
  • Tie Debbie Meyer (1968) and Janet Evans (1988) among US female swimmers with 3 individual gold medals at a single Olympic Games.
  • Tie Janet Evans (SWI) and Pat McCormick (DIV) among summer female US Olympians (any sport) with 4 individual gold medals. Among @TeamUSA Olympians, Ledecky would trail only Bonnie Blair, who won 5 individual gold medals in speed skating at the Winter Olympics.
  • Move to =2nd among all Olympic female swimmers with 4 individual gold medals, trailing only Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi, who has won 5. Four females have won 4 individual Olympic swimming golds – Janet Evans (USA), Kristin Otto (GDR), Inge de Bruijn (NED), and Yana Klochkova (UKR).

If She Wins 4 Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Move to =4th among female Olympic swimmers with 5 gold medals. The record is 8, held by Jenny Thompson (USA), with Kristin Otto (GDR) and Amy Van Dyken (USA) having won 6.
  • Move to =2nd among all female Olympians (any sport) with 4 gold medals at a single Games. The record is 6 by Kristin Otto in 1988, with 9 other women having won 4 golds at one Olympics, including two @TeamUSA swimmers, Amy Van Dyken (1996) and Missy Franklin (2012).

If She Wins 5 Gold Medals in Rio, Katie Ledecky Will …

  • Trail only Kristin Otto, the only woman to win 6 gold medals at one Olympic Games (swimming-1988). No other woman has won more than 4 at one Games. Ledecky would move to =5th all-time in any sport (=6th performance), also trailing the following men: Michael Phelps (8 in 2008, 6 in 2004), Mark Spitz (7 in 1972), and Vitaly Shcherbo (6 for EUN in gymnastics in 1992).
  • Move to =5th among all female Olympians (any sport) with 6 gold medals. The leaders in this category are Larysa Latynina (URS-GYM) with 9, followed by Birgit Fischer-Schmidt (GDR/GER-CAN) and Jenny Thompson (USA-SWI) with 8, and Věra Čáslavská (TCH-GYM) with 7. Ledecky, with 6, would tie Amy Van Dyken (SWI) for second place among @TeamUSA women.

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