Katie Ledecky broke the world record when she won gold in the 400m event at the Rio Olympics this week, and that isn’t even her best event. Ledecky is expected to be given a fierce battle in the 200m by Sweden’s Sarah Sjöström, but she should have the 800m all her own way.
American swimmer Katie Ledecky broke the world record when she won gold in the 400m event at the Rio Olympics this week, and that isn't even her best event. Her true specialty comes over 800m, and she is overwhelming favorite to seize another gold medal in that, while she is also clear favorite betting pick in the 200m.
Ledecky is expected to be given a fierce battle in the 200m by Sweden's Sarah Sjöström, but she should have the 800m all her own way. In the 2012 Games in London, Ledecky blew away the field as she won 800m gold by four clear seconds, posting the second fastest time in history. She has since broken the world record over 800m (as well as 400m and 1,500m) and goes into the event at Rio as the reigning world and Olympic champion. No wonder she keeps winning Swimmer of the Year awards.
She posted the most dominant swim of the US Olympic trials over 800m this summer. Teammate Leah Smith became the world's third fastest 800m swimmer in that race and finished a full 10 seconds behind Ledecky, whose winning margin was more than twice as dominant as anyone else at the trials, man or woman, in any event.
She rocked up to Rio in great form and delivered on her promise when she won only her second ever Olympic medal, finishing the 400m in three minutes and 56.46 seconds. She was four seconds ahead of second placed Jazz Carlin of Great Britain, and four-and-a-half seconds ahead of Smith in third.
Over double the distance in the 800m, that gap ahead of her rivals is also expected to double. They simply cannot keep up with her and she is as close to a dead cert in the 800m as anyone is in the entire Olympic Games, hence the extremely short betting odds.
What's even more incredible is that Ledecky is just 19 years old. That's right – she won the 800m gold in London at the age of just 15. She seems destined to go on to dominate the sport for the next decade. Michael Phelps has just racked up his 19th gold medal, cementing his status as the greatest Olympian of all time before he bows out after these Games. His record might not last as long as he would have hoped if Ledecky continues the way she is going. She will most likely be the poster girl for swimming for years to come and it would be the biggest upset of the year if she were to lose the 800m.
Here are the odds for the women's 800m event, as of Bovada on August 9:
Katie Ledecky (USA) -10000
Jessica Ashwood (AUS) +1400
Lauren Boyle (NZL) +1400
Jazmin Carlin (GBR) +2000
Leah Smith (USA) +3300
Mireia Belmonte (ESP) +4000
Brittany MacLean (CAN) +6600
Lotte Friis (DEN) +6600
Sarah Köhler (GER) +10000
Coralie Balmy (FRA) +10000