America in shock after swimming queen's fall

1 month ago 18
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American swimming superstar Katie Ledecky has become the first-ever Olympic gold medallist in the women's 1500m freestyle, but the victory didn't come before a battering of criticism from USA media.

Ledecky may no longer be the queen of the swimming world after being dethroned by emerging Australian golden girl Ariarne Titmus in both the 400m and 200m freestyle events at the Tokyo Games.

Ledecky had headed to Tokyo as the reigning 400m and 200m freestyle Olympic champion, having won both events in Rio in 2016, but she collected silver in the 400m and was even more disappointing in the 200m, finishing fifth as she failed to win a medal in an individual event for the first time in her Olympic career.

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The five-time Olympic gold medallist had also arrived at Tokyo as the 400m freestyle world record holder, laying claim to a time of 3:56.46.

American swimming superstar Katie Ledecky cutting a dejected figure after the 200m freestyle final at the Tokyo Games. (Getty)

But Titmus mowed her down in the 400m final to win in 3:56.69 as Ledecky posted 3:57.36, the 20-year-old Australian trailing at the final turn but charging home to clinch her first Olympic gold medal.

Then in the 200m final, Titmus was again victorious on her way to clocking 1:53.50, a new Olympic record, as the fifth-placed Ledecky slumped to a time of 1:55.21.

Matthew Futterman of The New York Times was among the many Ledecky critics in America following her losses to Titmus in the 400m and 200m finals.

"Five years after her victory in Rio de Janeiro ... Ledecky was far off Titmus's pace, finishing fifth, and she clearly has all that she can manage at distances of 400m or less," Futterman wrote.

In the same article, the veteran American journalist delivered Titmus enormous praise.

"Five days into the Olympic swim meet, one thing has become perfectly clear: Ariarne Titmus is fast becoming swimming's new queen."

Ariarne Titmus of Australia poses with her gold medal after winning the 200m freestyle in Tokyo. (Getty)

Rick Maese of The Washington Post was extremely blunt in his assessment of Ledecky's first two races of the Games.

"The finishing times glowed bright overhead, but the scoreboard at Tokyo Aquatics Centre might as well have read: Ariarne Titmus 2, Katie Ledecky 0," Maese wrote.

"Ledecky got off to a relatively slow start in the 200 final and was in seventh place at the first turn. She was slower with each ensuing 50m split and was never able to challenge the race's front-runners."

American sports journalist Paul Newberry of Associated Press was also scathing of Ledecky's 200m performance.

"Ledecky wasn't even close in the 200, making the first flip in seventh place and never getting higher than her fifth-place showing at the end," Newberry wrote.

"The defending Olympic champion finished in 1:55.21 – nearly two seconds behind the winner."

Newberry's also wrote: "Ledecky was a big favorite for gold in that race (the 1500m), which is new to the women's program this year, giving her a chance to quickly make up for the disappointment of the worst Olympic showing of her career."

USA swimming great Katie Ledecky gets emotional after winning the first-ever women's Olympic Games 1500m freestyle final. (Getty)

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