Ledecky wins gold in Olympic debut of 1500m race

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Kathleen Ledecky of the United States of America poses after the awarding ceremony for women's 1500m freestyle final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, July 28, 2021. (Xinhua/Xia Yifang)

After ups and downs in the past hours, Kathleen Ledecky of USA became the first Olympic gold medalist in the women's 1500m freestyle after winning at 15:37.34 on Wednesday morning.

Ledecky's teammate Erica Sullivan claimed silver in 15:41.41. Sarah Kohler took bronze for Germany in 15:42.91. Wang Jianjiahe of China ranked fourth with 15:46.37.

"I'm so happy to go one-two with Erica. It is the first women's 1500m (freestyle in Olympic history) so I couldn't have a better outcome than that. I'm so, so happy," said Ledecky.

Earlier this morning, Ledecky failed to continue her gold-winning streak in the women's 200m freestyle by ranking fifth.

"After the 200m, I knew I had to turn the page very quickly and in the warm-down pool I was just thinking of my family. 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," Ledecky replied on her emotions after crying with joy in the pool.

Before its debut on the Olympic programme in Tokyo, the women's 1500m freestyle has featured at the world championships since 2001. The current world record holder Katie Ledecky has won the most world titles in this event, taking gold in 2013, 2015 and 2017. She withdrew because of illness in 2019.

Ariarne Titmus won the gold for Australia in the women's 200m freestyle, setting a new Olympic record at 1:53.50. Australia has won three gold medals in the women's 200m freestyle at the Olympic Games in 1972, 2000 and Tokyo 2020.

Siobhan Bernadette Haughey from Hong Kong, China clinched a silver as the first ever Olympic swimming medal for Hong Kong. Penny Oleksiak took bronze for Canada. Yang Junxuan of China finished fourth.

"I'm really happy and really excited. I worked hard for this for the last five years. The medal means so much," Haughey said about her silver.

Yui Ohashi won the women's 200m individual medley gold for Japan in 2:08.52. Ohashi won the women's 400m individual medley on 25 July, becoming the first Japanese woman to win two gold medals at a single Olympic Games, also the first Japanese woman to win two Olympic gold medals in swimming.

Alex Walsh claimed silver for United States, with teammate Kate Douglas taking bronze.

15-year-old Yu Yiting of China finished fifth. World record holder Katinka Hosszu only ranked seventh with 2:12.38.

Zhang Yufei of China reached the women's 200m butterfly final in 2:04.89. Zhang had claimed a silver medal in the women's 100m butterfly on Monday.

Hali Flickinger of the USA qualified second to Zhang with a time of 2:06.23. China's Yu Liyan also entered the final.

Britain won its first Olympic gold medal in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay with 6:58.58. The Russian Olympic Committee team and the Australia took the silver (7:01.81) and the bronze (7:01.84) respectively.

Britain were world champions in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay in 2015 and 2017, and now recorded their first Olympic gold in the event.

Izaac Stubblety-cook of Australia topped the finalists in men's 200m breaststroke with 2:07.35.

Kristof Milak of Hungary added an Olympic gold to his world title and world record in the men's 200m butterfly, after hitting a time of 1:51.25 to post a new Olympic record.

"My suit tore 10 minutes before the start of the race, just before entering the call room. At that moment I knew that the world record was gone, because I was totally off focus," said Milak.

Milak won the men's 200m butterfly at the world championships in 2019 in a world record time of 1:50.73, becoming the first and so far only person to go under one minute and 51 seconds.

Tomoru Honda won Japan a silver at 1:53.75, while the bronze went to Italy's Federico Burdisso at 1:54.45.

Kliment Kolesnikov of the Russian Olympic Committee team led the finalists at 47.11 seconds in the men's 100m freestyle. The winning time in this event at Rio 2016 was 47.58. Caeleb Dressel of the USA ranked second, followed by Italian Alessandro Miressi.

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