AFTER the furore over Chinese teen swimmer Ye Shiwen’s Olympic success, 15-year-old American Katy Ledecky found herself fielding questions about doping after dominating the 800m freestyle on Friday.
Ledecky, a newcomer on the international scene after securing her Olympic berth at her first US trials, had only competed in one senior national championships before then.
Her best time coming into the Games was the 8:19.78 she posted at trials, and she won Olympic gold in 8:14.63, becoming the second-fastest performer in history.
She was asked if she thought her performance might raise the same questions that greeted 16-year-old Shiwen’s 400m medley world record, which provoked a storm of speculation in the Western media.
“They would be totally false,” Ledecky said. “I have just put in a lot of hard work in the last year, that’s all it is.
“It is that simple and just setting short- and long-term goals. I have just been going to some big meets and having some big races, so that has helped me drop time progressively.”
Ledecky said her coach first discussed attempting the Olympic trials when she won the 400m free, 800m free and the 1,500m at the junior nationals in August last year.
“He asked me about the trials and we made it our goal, but I didn’t tell anyone,” she said.
Ledecky was happy to ride the wave of youthful success in London. Along with herself and Shiwen, 15-year-old Lithuanian Ruta Meilutyte has claimed women’s 100m breaststroke gold. — AFP