15-Year-Old American Katie Ledecky Wins Women's 800m Freestyle Final

After a week of near-misses, Great Britain finally looked like it would get a gold medal swim from Rebecca Adlington. Instead, Katie Ledecky dominated, cruising to victory in the women's 800m freestyle on Friday.

Ledecky broke fast and held her lead throughout the race, with Adlington second for much of it, but the home country favorite faded in the last 150 meters, ending up with bronze behind Spain's Miriea Belmonte Garcia.

Ledecky, who turned 15 in March, was on world record pace throughout the race and never even remotely challenged, but fell off at the last, ending up about a half-second behind Adlington's mark.

Preserving that record may be cold comfort for her. Ledecky's surprise victory is sort of a one-woman youth movement, and makes her the youngest gold medalist in the event. She promises to be one of the most celebrated medalists of these games.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics Hub. For more on Olympic swimming, follow the 2012 Olympic swimming section.

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