Ledecky gets third gold, Franklin a first in Rio
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[August 11, 2016]
By Alan Baldwin
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Freestyle
queen Katie Ledecky won her third gold medal of the Rio Olympics by
anchoring the U.S. women to victory in the 4x200 metres freestyle
relay on Wednesday while struggling Missy Franklin opened her
account without being in the water for the final.
Australia, who led until Ledecky dived in and turned the race
around, took silver and Canada the bronze.
The U.S. were the defending champions but only veteran Allison
Schmitt, who swam the leadoff leg in Rio, was in the race lineup
from that London 2012 golden quartet that also beat Australia into
Leah Smith and Maya DiRado swam second and third respectively before
Ledecky, who won the 400 freestyle on Sunday and 200 free on
Tuesday, brought home the gold with a typically powerful swim from
Franklin, who won four golds in London four years ago but suffered a
dramatic loss of form at the U.S. trials, swam in the heats and
collected a gold for doing so despite being dropped for the final.
So too did Melanie Margalis and Cierra Runge.
"It's such a great honour to be a part of a USA relay team," said
Ledecky, still only 19 but the outstanding female swimmer on the
"I think I was prepared for any circumstance, whether we were ahead
or behind. I just knew that these three girls were going to put me
in a good position to finish it out and I knew I could do it," she
"It's so easy to get up and swim fast when you're swimming for three
China led at the start before Australia, with Emma McKeon swimming
the second leg, handed over in the lead to Bronte Barratt.
With DiRado closing in on Barratt but still behind, Ledecky had work
to do and she went about it with a vengeance to take the lead with
just over 100 metres to go and then powering home in seven minutes,
[to top of second column]
USA's Katie Ledecky, Maya DiRado, Leah Smith and Allison Schmitt
celebrate winning gold. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Tamsin Cook touched out for Australia in 7:44.87 and Canada's anchor
Penny Oleksiak finished close behind in 7:45.39 with China fourth.
DiRado's gold completed her set, having already earned a silver and
bronze in the two women's individual medleys.
"I was so excited to get the call up today to be on this relay,"
"It was a dream to be on a U.S. relay and to win gold. I'm just so
happy I didn't mess it up and I gave Katie a chance.
"We've got the rainbow now," she added. "It feels really good."
The race may have been Schmitt's last swim but she was not ready to
"I am grateful for where I am right now, to be able to stand up
there and hear our national anthem is something I am definitely
soaking in," she said.
"I think my emotions are so high right now that I just want to soak
that in and figure out the rest later."
(Additional reporting by Amy Tennery, editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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