Is there anyone who deserves to earn the Golden Goggles "Breakout Performer of the Year Award" more than Katie Ledecky?
At 15 years old, Ledecky began her international swimmer career in a huge way. At the 2012 Olympic Games, the Maryland native earned her first international swimming medal by claiming gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle. She won the event by 4.13 seconds.
Winning at the Olympic Games by more than four seconds is an impressive feat for anyone, but in the case of Ledecky, the accomplishment is made even more impressive when you consider the field against which she was competing. In order to win gold, the 15-year-old had to best British swimmer Rebecca Adlington, who was the defending Olympic champion in the event. Adlington, who ultimately finished third in the event at the 2012 Olympic Games, is the world record holder (8:14.10) in the event.
During her Olympic performance, Ledecky nearly took down Adlington's world record, finishing just more than half a second behind the best time in history. In fact, with a time of 8:14.63, Ledecky swam the second-fastest women's 800 freestyle time in history and became the American record holder in the event. In the process, she smashed Janet Evan's former American record of 8:16.22, which had stood since 1989.
As USA Swimming's Golden Goggles award ceremony approaches, Ledecky's performance will be judged against those of Cammile Adams, Haley Anderson, Breeja Larson and Scott Weltz, all of whom competed in the final heat of their respective events. Only Anderson came home with a medal, as she won silver in the 10-kilometer open water event.
And while each of the other swimmers nominated for the "Breakout Swimmer of the Year Award" may have performed well, none of them turned in a gutsy, inspired performance like Ledecky. Ledecky went for the gold medal right from the beginning, and instead getting caught, as many expected, the 15-year-old simply increased her lead and swam to victory.
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Sandra Johnson was a competitive swimmer for more than 15 years before she began coaching. She is a longtime Olympic fan, and while working for the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., she had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
- Sports & Recreation
- Athletics, Track & Field
- Katie Ledecky
- Rebecca Adlington
- 2012 Olympic Games