Katie Ledecky on Saturday in Tokyo won gold in the 800 meter freestyle, giving her two gold medals and four medals overall in this Olympiad.
The 24-year-old swimmer made fans happy when she shot down retirement talk and said she planned to compete in 2024 and possibly even 2028.
But Ledecky said something after her final event in Tokyo that was surprising.
Ledecky has won seven gold medals and three silver medals during her Olympic career thus far. The American swimmer was asked to reflect on her Olympics accomplishments during an interview that NBC aired on Saturday.
Ledecky said in the interview that winning the medals still hadn’t sunk in for her. In fact, she said that her win at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London still hadn’t sunk in!
Talk about focus! Ledecky won her first Olympic gold medal as a 15-year-old in London. That was nine years ago! But she was so determined to prove in 2016 that she wasn’t a one-hit wonder that she didn’t have time to celebrate her first gold. Instead, she focused on her training and then won four more golds and a silver at Rio in 2016. And she’s added four more medals at the 2020 Summer Games.
Maybe that’s just how it is for the great ones. They’re so focused on what’s next that they don’t stop to think about what’s in the past. We actually heard a very similar comment recently from another great athlete. That’s part of the great athlete mentality.
Pamela Ware was expected to contend for a medal in the 3 meter springboard diving event at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Unfortunately, she did not come to realize that fate.
Ware completely botched her final dive in the semifinals and failed to advance to the finals of the event. The Canadian diver went to the diving board and jumped into the water without attempting a dive with the maneuvers she was planning. Ware actually scored zeroes across the board for failing to attempt a dive.
Ware finished 18th with a score of 245.10. She would have needed to score over 44.7 on her fifth dive in order to qualify for the final.
Absent the complete screwup, Ware would have likely scored inside the top 10 to make it to the final. Imagine training for years only to have that happen at the Olympics. What a bummer.
Novak Djokovic will head home from the Tokyo Olympics without a medal, and the world’s No. 1 player allowed his temper to become a major storyline as his bid for the Golden Slam came to an end.
Djokovic lost his bronze medal match on Saturday to Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets. The 20-time Grand Slam winner was extremely frustrated at numerous points during the match. He threw his racket into the stands and also smashed a racket against the net. You can see the videos of Djokovic’s outbursts below:
Djkovic still had a chance to win a bronze medal in his mixed doubles match with Serbian teammate teammate Nina Stojanovic, but he withdrew due to a shoulder injury. The bronze medal was awarded to Australia’s Ashleigh Barty and John Peers as a result.
You can understand why Djokovic was disappointed in his Olympic performance, but his behavior was embarrassing. Of course, Djokovic is known for having outbursts on the court. He smashed his racket in anger during the Australian Open earlier this year. He was also infamously disqualified from the US Open last year after he hit a ball in frustration and it inadvertently struck a line judge. You can see the video of that incident here.
Djokovic said after his US Open disqualification that he would focus on controlling his temper, but he clearly has work to do. The meltdowns happen far too often when things aren’t going his way.
Team USA swimmer Caeleb Dressel more or less conquered one of the most grueling schedules of any Olympian during Saturday’s swimming events in Tokyo.
After some question as to whether he would do so, Dressel anchored the U.S. mixed relay team in its event, which meant he would swim three events in a span of roughly 80 minutes. It was a feat that not even Michael Phelps ever undertook at a single Olympic games.
Remarkably, the schedule didn’t seem to take a toll on Dressel. He opened with the 100-meter butterfly and won gold, setting a world record in the process with a time of 49.45 seconds. Less than an hour later, he took part in the semifinals of the 50-meter freestyle. He finished first in that, too, qualifying for the final in that event on Sunday.
Dressel swam a solid anchor leg in the mixed medley relay, but the Americans were roughly eight seconds behind by the time he entered the pool. Team USA ended up finishing fifth in the event, denying Dressel the opportunity to win multiple Olympic medals in just over an hour.
Dressel already smashed one Olympic record during the games even before his world record swim on Saturday. He’ll have the chance to win another gold in the 50m final tomorrow in what should be a slightly more forgiving schedule.
Katie Ledecky finished off her Tokyo Olympics with another gold medal, and very quickly silenced any talk of a possible retirement.
Ledecky took gold in the 800m women’s freestyle, her third straight Olympic gold in the event. The fact that Tokyo marked Ledecky’s third Olympics sparked some speculation that Friday’s swim would be her last, and that she would consider retiring from Olympic competition at the age of 24.
The question was put to Ledecky in her post-race interview with NBC, and she shot it down immediately, sounding almost surprised at the question.
Ledecky will only be 27 when the 2024 Summer Olympics take place in Paris. She also hadn’t indicated that she was even thinking about retirement. She’s still the best in the world, as she has demonstrated on more than one occasion in Tokyo. She’s still young enough to maintain that level for at least one more run and maybe beyond.
Notably, Ledecky’s win gives her six individual Olympic gold medals, the most of any female Olympic swimmer in history.
The chances of seeing Simone Biles compete again in the Tokyo Olympics appear to be dwindling after the American withdrew from two more events.
Late Friday, USA Gymnastics issued a statement confirming that Biles would withdraw from the finals for both the vault and uneven bars. She will be replaced by MyKayla Skinner. The statement said that Biles would continue to be evaluated to determine whether she would be able to participate in the floor exercise and balance beam, the other two events for which she is eligible.
Biles is currently experiencing what she called the “twisties,” a sort of mental block that causes her to be disoriented in the air. That is a serious issue for a gymnast who relies on extensive body control, grace, and agility to perform.
Biles’ absence from the individual events has allowed other U.S. gymnasts to shine. It remains to be seen whether Biles will be able to participate in the final two events, but the possibility of her participation certainly seems unlikely.
The United States Women’s National Team defeated the Netherlands on Friday to clinch a spot in the Olympic semifinals, and Megan Rapinoe broke out a new celebration after icing the win.
Rapinoe buried a shot in the upper right corner of the goal with the US leading 3-2 in penalty kicks. She immediately turned to her teammates and crossed her arms as if to say, “What did you expect?”
That was a different celebration pose from the one Rapinoe became known for during the World Cup two years ago, so perhaps she is trying something new.
The USWNT got off to a rough start at the Olympics with a stunning 3-0 loss to Sweden, but they still managed to advance to the semifinals. They’ll play Canada with a trip to the gold medal game on the line.
It is unclear if Simone Biles will compete again at the Olympics this year, but the 24-year-old gymnast has made an effort to help fans understand the mental struggles she has been having in Tolyo.
After she withdrew from the women’s gymnastics team all-around on Tuesday, Biles revealed that she was “shaking” and could not focus leading up to the event. She has since answered questions about the issues from fans on Instagram. On Friday, Biles shared two videos that showed her trying to do her uneven bars dismount, and it was clear something was not right. She deleted the videos but wrote about the mental block she is experiencing. Biles called the problem the “twisties,” which sound similar to the yips in golfing.
“It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind & body in sync,” Biles wrote, via TMZ. “Literally can not tell up from down. It’s the craziest feeling ever. Not having an inch of control over your body.”
Biles said the most frightening part is that she is disoriented while in the air and has “no idea how I am going to land, or what I am going to land on.” This is not the first time she has dealt with the issue, which she says usually resolves on its own. She said overcoming it can take two weeks or more but that she can only take things “literally day by day, turn by turn.”
Biles also hit back at anyone who has said she quit on her team.
“For anyone saying I quit, I didn’t quit,” she wrote. “My mind & body are simply not in sync. … Physical health is mental health.”
Biles has qualified for several individual events, but she is unsure of when she might return. She withdrew from the individual all-around on Thursday, which opened the door for 18-year-old Suni Lee to capture her first Olympic gold medal. Lee’s father had an emotional message for Biles after the event.
Two Dominican Republic players were involved in a nasty collision during the team’s game against Mexico at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on Friday.
Mexico was batting in the top of the third inning with a runner on first, one out, and the game scoreless. Isaac Rodriguez popped up the pitch to shallow right, leading Julio Rodriguez and Gustavo Nunez to converge.
Rodriguez made the catch in right, but that was brutal.
Nunez was later removed from the game.
Nunez, 33, has played in the minor leagues but never made it to the majors. Rodriguez, 20, is a promising prospect in the Mariners’ system.
Team USA swimmer Michael Andrew has been the focus of a lot of curiosity due to his unusual training methods. After his collapse in Friday’s 200-meter individual medley, those methods are likely to be scrutinized more heavily.
Andrew jumped into the lead in the 200m IM, maintaining it until the final 50 meters. However, he collapsed during the freestyle portion of the swim and ended up missing out on the podium entirely, continuing a trend that he’s exhibited in past performances.
Andrew and his father Peter, who is also his coach, are devotees of a methodology called “Ultra Short Race Pace Training” that is not used by any other American swimmers. The method involves dozens of short 25-meter reps at race pace, in contrast to the preferred method of training by swimming longer distances slightly below race pace. Andrew’s training method means he is less accustomed to the 50-meter pools that are standard at international competition like the Olympics.
The method has previously been criticized by Michael Phelps, who saw Andrew fade in a previous race and argued that he needed to change his training in order to properly prepare his body for a full 50-meter swim.
“When you’re slipping water like that, I feel like that’s a training error,” Phelps said in June, via David Rieder of Swimming World. “You’re not giving yourself that chance to have repetitions in training that you’re going to feel the last 25 meters.”
Andrew had told Laine Higgins of the Wall Street Journal that his goal was not just to win the 200m IM, but to break the world record of 1:54.00 set in 2011 by Ryan Lochte. While acknowledging that the freestyle portion of the race is his weakness, he said his goal was to split 24 seconds on the butterfly, get near 29 seconds on the backstroke, do the breaststroke in 32.5 seconds, and then finish the final split with a 28.5 second freestyle.
Instead, Andrew fell woefully short, particularly on the freestyle portion.
China’s Shun Wang won the event with a time of 1:55.00. Andrew finished fifth with a time of 1:57.31, over a second slower than bronze medalist Jeremy Desplanches and over three seconds short of the world record time he’d targeted.
Many viewers and former swimmers blamed Andrew’s unorthodox training method for his collapse.
Both Andrew and his father were very confident in his methods and the results they felt they would yield. It didn’t happen, and while it’s unlikely Andrew would overhaul the training he’s used his entire life, they’re going to hear a lot of criticism over how this happened.