RIO DE JANEIRO - This was a race, not a Katie Ledecky victory parade. It left her face contorted from exhaustion, the result of an effort that took every ounce of her physical and mental strength.
She had prevailed in a scintillating Olympic final of the 200-meter freestyle, the one individual event of her three in Rio where the challenge was an opponent, not the clock. She had held off the late surge of Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, who had the fastest 200 in the world this season – until Tuesday night.
Ledecky had won her second 2016 Olympic freestyle gold and now seems virtually certain to join compatriot Debbie Meyer as the only women to win the 200, 400 and 800 freestyles in the same Olympics, with Meyer having done it in 1968.
“Katie is the queen of freestyle,” Sjostrom said.
The 800 remains, with the prelims Thursday and final Friday. The longer the distance, the more dominant Ledecky becomes.
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