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Katie Ledecky breaks Michael Phelps’ record at Worlds with gold medal in 800-meter freestyle

Katie Ledecky stands alone after winning gold in the 800-meter freestyle race at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan on Saturday. 

The win is Ledecky’s 16th individual world title, breaking a tie with legendary men’s swimmer Michael Phelps for the most individual gold medals at the world championships.  

Ledecky won with a time of 8:08:87, nearly five seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Lee Bingjie of China. 


With the victory on Saturday, Ledecky also became the first swimmer to win a single Worlds event six times.

Ledecky tied Phelps’ record for individual titles at the world championships on Tuesday with a win in the 1,500-meter freestyle. 

“It’s an honor. I’ve known Michael for many years now, looked up to him as a little kid,” Ledecky said in a press conference after tying Phelps on Tuesday.

“Just never really imagined I would be in this position. It’s always an honor to win a medal for Team USA, especially gold. Just going to keep going and continue to do my best every time I race.”

Katie Ledecky competes in the 800m freestyle

A seven-time Olympic gold medalist, Ledecky will compete at the Paris Olympics next year. 

At 26 years old, Ledecky has made it clear her career is not close to nearing the end, refusing to rule out the Olympic Games in 2028. 

“I can say pretty confidently that I’m not going to be done in 2024,” she said in July. “I just don’t see myself hanging it up after next year. I just love the sport too much right now. I can’t wrap my head around being done next year.”

“I mean, L.A. is definitely in the picture,” Ledecky said. “I can’t fully commit to it at this point in 2023. But if I’m still loving it, if I feel like my body can do it. I think I would give it a shot. It’s amazing to have that opportunity to swim in the United States at an Olympics. It’s a rare opportunity, so something that I’m excited about. Whether I’m competing or not, I’ll definitely be there.”

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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