RIO DE JANEIRO – In two hours Thursday afternoon, I went from watching Katie Ledecky, who defies the clock in a pool, to watching Simone Biles, who defies gravity on a gymnastics floor.
These two 19-year-olds, born three days apart in March of 1997, each dominates her sport in a way that leaves their rivals in awe.
“If Katie swims the way she can, we all are swimming for second or third,” Denmark’s Lotte Friis, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, told me two months ago.
“I knew Simone was going to win; I was just hoping to get second,” her U.S. teammate, Aly Raisman, said early Thursday evening, when Raisman had done just that as Biles took the Olympic all-around title by 2.1 points, the largest victory margin in the last 40 years.
Biles has a team gold medal. And the all-around gold. And she will be favored to add three more in the individual events.
Ledecky has three golds and a silver. She is heavily favored to win a fourth gold Friday after setting an Olympic record in the 800-meter freestyle preliminaries Thursday.
What Biles and Ledecky share is the same plan for getting farther ahead of the opposition when triumph already is a foregone conclusion.
FOR THE WHOLE STORY ON TEAMUSA.ORG, CLICK HERE