| Event type

800 metres Freestyle, Women

Date29 – 31 July 2021
LocationOlympic Aquatics Centre, 2-1, 2chome, Tatsumi, Koto-ku, Tatsumi-no-Mori Seaside Park, Tokyo, Japan
Participants30 from 22 countries

Katie Ledecky had won the gold medal in this event 2012 and 2016, and had won the World Championship in 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019. Normally a dominant favorite, she had shown some semblance of normality here, as Ariarne Titmus had outkicked her to win the 400 freestyle and was expected to challenge Ledecky over 800 as well.

Ledecky led the qualifying, followed by her teammate Katie Grimes, and then Italy’s Simona Quadarella, as Titmus surprisingly was back in sixth place, but comfortably made the final.

Ledecky took out the lead in the final from the beginning and was never really challenged. Titmus held second throughout but Ledecky always had a lead of at least a body length. Titmus was known for her finish, but she could only make marginal inroads into Ledecky’s pace on the final lap, as Ledecky won by 1.26 seconds in 8:12.57. Behind the two leaders Quadarella and Grimes exchanged third and fourth, with Quadarella starting to pull away from Grimes in the last half of the race to get the bronze medal.

This was Ledecky’s third consecutive gold medal in the event, making her only the third woman to three-peat in a swimming event at the Olympics, after Australian Dawn Fraser in the 100 freestyle in 1956-64 and Hungary’s Krisztina Egerszegi in the 200 backstroke in 1988-96. On the men’s side it had only been done by Michael Phelps – in three different events.

1Katie LedeckyUSA8:15.67 (1 h4)8:12.57 (1)Gold
2Ariarne TitmusAUS8:18.99 (2 h3)8:13.83 (2)Silver
3Simona QuadarellaITA8:17.32 (3 h4)8:18.35 (3)Bronze
4Katie GrimesUSA8:17.05 (2 h4)8:19.38 (4)
5Wang JianjiaheCHN8:20.58 (4 h3)8:21.93 (5)
6Kiah MelvertonAUS8:20.45 (3 h3)8:22.25 (6)
7Sarah KöhlerGER8:17.33 (4 h4)8:24.56 (7)
8Anastasiya KirpichnikovaROC8:18.77 (1 h3)8:26.30 (8)
9Isabel GoseGER8:21.79 (5 h3)
10Li BingjieCHN8:22.49 (6 h3)
11Summer McIntoshCAN8:25.04 (1 h2)
12Merve TuncelTUR8:25.62 (5 h4)
13Ajna KéselyHUN8:26.20 (7 h3)
14Mireia BelmonteESP8:26.71 (6 h4)
15Julia HasslerLIE8:26.99 (2 h2)
16Waka KoboriJPN8:28.90 (3 h2)
17Miyu NambaJPN8:32.04 (4 h2)
18Eve ThomasNZL8:32.51 (1 h1)
19Kristel KöbrichCHI8:32.58 (2 h1)
20Martina CaramignoliITA8:33.15 (7 h4)
21Jimena PérezESP8:33.98 (5 h2)
22Marlene KahlerAUT8:36.16 (6 h2)
23Deniz ErtanTUR8:36.29 (7 h2)
24Viviane JungblutBRA8:38.88 (3 h1)
25Tamila HolubPOR8:40.04 (8 h2)
26Katja FainSLO8:41.13 (4 h1)
27Delfina PignatielloARG8:44.85 (8 h3)
28Han Da-GyeongKOR8:46.66 (5 h1)
29Arianna ValloniSMR8:54.78 (6 h1)
30Nguyễn Thị Ánh ViênVIE9:03.56 (7 h1)
DNSAnna YegorovaROC– (DNS h4)

Round One (29 July 2021 — 19:00)

14Katie LedeckyUSA8:15.67Q
26Katie GrimesUSA8:17.05Q
35Simona QuadarellaITA8:17.32Q
43Sarah KöhlerGER8:17.33Q
56Anastasiya KirpichnikovaROC8:18.77Q
65Ariarne TitmusAUS8:18.99Q
73Kiah MelvertonAUS8:20.45Q
84Wang JianjiaheCHN8:20.58Q
98Isabel GoseGER8:21.79
101Li BingjieCHN8:22.49
113Summer McIntoshCAN8:25.04
128Merve TuncelTUR8:25.62
132Ajna KéselyHUN8:26.20
147Mireia BelmonteESP8:26.71
156Julia HasslerLIE8:26.99
165Waka KoboriJPN8:28.90
174Miyu NambaJPN8:32.04
183Eve ThomasNZL8:32.51
194Kristel KöbrichCHI8:32.58
202Martina CaramignoliITA8:33.15
217Jimena PérezESP8:33.98
228Marlene KahlerAUT8:36.16
231Deniz ErtanTUR8:36.29
245Viviane JungblutBRA8:38.88
252Tamila HolubPOR8:40.04
266Katja FainSLO8:41.13
277Delfina PignatielloARG8:44.85
282Han Da-GyeongKOR8:46.66
291Arianna ValloniSMR8:54.78
307Nguyễn Thị Ánh ViênVIE9:03.56
DNS1Anna YegorovaROC

Heat One (19:00)

13Eve ThomasNZL8:32.510.78
24Kristel KöbrichCHI8:32.580.73
35Viviane JungblutBRA8:38.880.72
46Katja FainSLO8:41.130.73
52Han Da-GyeongKOR8:46.660.73
61Arianna ValloniSMR8:54.780.74
77Nguyễn Thị Ánh ViênVIE9:03.560.76

Heat Two (19:12)

13Summer McIntoshCAN8:25.040.77
26Julia HasslerLIE8:26.990.78
35Waka KoboriJPN8:28.900.69
44Miyu NambaJPN8:32.040.7
57Jimena PérezESP8:33.980.65
68Marlene KahlerAUT8:36.160.85
71Deniz ErtanTUR8:36.290.71
82Tamila HolubPOR8:40.040.79

Heat Three (19:24)

16Anastasiya KirpichnikovaROC8:18.770.76Q
25Ariarne TitmusAUS8:18.990.74Q
33Kiah MelvertonAUS8:20.450.75Q
44Wang JianjiaheCHN8:20.580.70Q
58Isabel GoseGER8:21.790.79
61Li BingjieCHN8:22.490.66
72Ajna KéselyHUN8:26.200.71
87Delfina PignatielloARG8:44.850.78

Heat Four (19:36)

14Katie LedeckyUSA8:15.670.65Q
26Katie GrimesUSA8:17.050.62Q
35Simona QuadarellaITA8:17.320.74Q
43Sarah KöhlerGER8:17.330.71Q
58Merve TuncelTUR8:25.620.68
67Mireia BelmonteESP8:26.710.69
72Martina CaramignoliITA8:33.150.76
DNS1Anna YegorovaROC

Final (31 July 2021 — 10:46)

14Katie LedeckyUSA8:12.570.65
27Ariarne TitmusAUS8:13.830.74
33Simona QuadarellaITA8:18.350.74
45Katie GrimesUSA8:19.380.66
58Wang JianjiaheCHN8:21.930.72
61Kiah MelvertonAUS8:22.250.74
76Sarah KöhlerGER8:24.560.72
82Anastasiya KirpichnikovaROC8:26.300.74