Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Beijing National Aquatics Centre, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 14, 2008
Date Finished: August 16, 2008
American [Kate Ziegler] had won the world titles at both the 800 freestyle and non-Olympic 1500 freestyle at the two world championships held between the Athens and Beijing Olympics. At Beijing however she was eliminated in the heats after recording only the tenth fastest time.
[Becky Adlington] of Great Britain had set the world's leading time and had won the World Short Course Championship earlier in the year but there still doubts about her ability to perform at the highest championship following her disappointing results at the 2007 World Championships. These doubts were dispelled when she won the Olympic 400 freestyle title a few days earlier and she was installed as overwhelming favourite to win the 800 as well. Adlington did not disappoint and the race gradually turned into one between the Briton and [Janet Evans]' world record which had stood since 1989. The clock stopped at 8:14.10 which was two seconds under the 20 year old record. Adlington was not yet born when Evans had set the record.
Behind her [Alessia Filippi] was a distant second with Denmark's [Lotte Friis] winning a close battle for bronze. Friis turned the tables on Adlington to become world champion in 2009 but the Briton regained supremacy in 2011.