Rio’s Golden Favorites: Swimmer Katie Ledecky

US swimmer Katie Ledecky  poses on the p
US swimmer Katie Ledecky poses on the podium after winning gold in the women’s 800m freestyle final during the swimming event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 3, 2012 in London. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/GettyImages)

Katie Ledecky is as close to a sure thing there is. The 19-year-old already has a gold medal from her 800-meter freestyle victory at the 2012 London Games. Gold in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle at the Rio Olympics are considered a near lock.

Owner of the fastest times in 400- and 800-meter women’s swimming this year, Ledecky, the world record holder in both events owns eight of the ten fastest 400-meter times and nine of the top ten fastest 800-meter times…ever.

More incredibly, Ledecky has blossomed into a rare swimming competitor that has excelled at both mid and short distances. She also owns the fastest time in the world in the 200-meter freestyle, showing a diversity of performance that hasn’t been seen since the 1968 Mexico City Games. Back then, it was American teenager from Annapolis, Maryland, Debbie Meyer, who achieved an incredible swimming trifecta, winning gold in the 200, 400 and 800-meter freestyle events.

Katie Ledecky and Debbie Meyer
Katie Ledecky and Debbie Meyer

As Meyer reflected in this New York Times article, “When I watch her swim, it brings back so many memories.”

The Stanford University enrollee is primed for golden success in the 400 and 800 meters. Additionally, she has qualified for both the 200- and 100-meters. The Freestyle Queen will reign in Rio. The question is not how. It’s how many.