Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): London Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: August 2, 2012
Date Finished: August 3, 2012
Britain's Becky Adlington was the defending champion and the 2011 World Champion, and the entire British crowd was there to root her home again. Her biggest challenger was expected to be Denmark's Lotte Friis, runner-up at the 2011 Worlds in this event and World Champion in the non-Olympic 1,500. But at the US Olympic Trials in June a young American, 15-year-old Katie Ledecky had served notice she should be watched. And the other swimmers did watch her, from behind for the entire final. Ledecky went out ahead of world record pace for 200 metres, with Adlington and Friis trying to hang on. By 600 metres she had moved two bodylengths in front and had only to hold on for the gold medal. Ledecky won in 8:14.63, the second fastest time ever, just off Adlington's world record of 8:14.10 from the Beijing Olympics, but Ledecky's was done in a textile suit. Adlington suffered in the final laps and dropped back to bronze, with the silver taken by Spain's Mireia Belmonte. Friis also faded near the end and placed fifth.
Ledecky became the youngest ever champion in this event at 15 years, 139 days, bettering the previous youngest, who was 1976 East German champion Petra Thümer, then 15-177. It also made her the seventh youngest individual swimming gold medalist in any Olympic event, and sixth youngest woman.
|1||Katie Ledecky||15||United States||USA||Gold|
|3||Becky Adlington||23||Great Britain||GBR||Bronze|
|4||Lauren Boyle||24||New Zealand||NZL|
|12||Wendy Trott||22||South Africa||RSA|
|21||Kate Ziegler||24||United States||USA|
|22||Ellie Faulkner||19||Great Britain||GBR|
|30||Khoo Cai Lin||23||Malaysia||MAS|
|32||Han Na-Gyeong||19||South Korea||KOR|
|33||Pamela Benítez||21||El Salvador||ESA|
|34||Daniella van den Berg||16||Aruba||ARU|