Presented By
Katie Ledecky after winning gold in the Women's 800m Freestyle Final on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, on August 12, 2016.
Al Bello—Getty Images

Katie Ledecky is a fierce competitor in the pool, but she couldn’t hold back her emotions after she nabbed the gold on Friday night.

After winning the 800-meter freestyle race at the Rio Olympics – and shattering the world record in the meantime – Ledecky teared up while the Star Spangled Banner played during her medal ceremony.

“As the flag was being raised I could see my family right under the flag … the emotions just hit me and I had to let it all out,” Ledecky said on Saturday during an interview on Today.

As for her record-shattering swim, Ledecky admitted that she could tell she was having a “good swim” on Friday night. (Talk about an understatement!)

“I have a good internal clock and can tell how fast I am swimming,” she explained on Today. “I could tell I was having a good swim last night.”
Ledecky has won a total of five medals at the Rio Olympics – gold medals for the 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter freestyles and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and silver for the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. And she says her success is thanks to her coaches and teammates who set “big goals” for Rio.

“We set some really big goals for Rio a couple of years ago and I never thought I would hit them so on the nose,” she said.

But Ledecky’s medal count will stop at five as she said that Friday’s competition was her last one for this year’s Olympics. Meanwhile, her teammates will continue to compete on Saturday.

This article originally appeared on

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at

You May Also Like