Katie Ledecky Wins U.S. Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Year

Katie Ledecky earned the top honors at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC)’s Team USA Awards tonight, taking home the award for Female Athlete of the Olympic Games.

This summer in Rio de Janeiro, Ledecky took home five gold medals (200 free, 400 free, 800 free, 4×200 free relay), two world records (400 free, 800 free), and one silver medal (4×100 free relay), throwing down the top gold-medal-earning single-Olympics performance by an American female athlete in history and becoming second-most decorated Olympian at the 2016 Games.

The other nominees in the Female Athlete of the Olympic Games category were Gwen Jorgensen (Triathlon), Helen Maroulis (Wrestling), Claressa Shields (Boxing), and Simone Biles (gymnastics). With her four gold medals (and one bronze), Biles tied with Missy Franklin (2012, four golds, one bronze) for the second-most decorated single-Olympics performance by an American female athlete.

Over 500 members of Team USA attended the ceremony tonight at Georgetown University’s McDonough Arena in Ledecky’s homeland of Washington D.C. The awards will air October 4th from 10 p.m. – 11 p.m. on the NBC Sports Network.

Before 2015, the awards (this one was then called USOC Sportwoman of the Year), also took place in non-Olympic years. Past winners include Shirley Babashoff (1974), Janet Evans (1989), Amy van Dyken (1996), Katie Hoff (2005, 2007), Natalie Coughlin (2008), and Ledecky herself (2012-13). You can see a full list here.

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7 years ago

Congratulations to Katie. She makes the sport of swimming very interesting and exciting and she pushes the envelope. Can’t wait to watch her compete at Stanford.

7 years ago

5 or 4 gold medals???

Reply to  Traveling
7 years ago

4 of course , just count

Alex Simmonds
7 years ago

Katie win 2012-2013 ??
I think missy have a better olympic and wc at those year

Reply to  Alex Simmonds
7 years ago

Lol good one

Reply to  Alex Simmonds
7 years ago

That award was specifically for the 2013 wc, in which Katie had a better meet than Missy individually. Allyson Felix won for London 2012

7 years ago

The number of medals and world records is an appropriate way to evaluate the achievement. But if to measure the success by the level of unexpected fan’s excitement and pleasant surprise like it was in cases of Ervin’s, DiRado’s and Manuel’s wins then I would say that Ledecky’s 52.6 was the most shocking among her races in Rio. One year ago she wasn’t even considered a contender for the world title at 200 being rated well behind Heemskerk, Sjostrom, Franklin and Pellegrini. Her prospects at 100 were not being even discussed because of ridiculousness of such talks about long distance swimmer.

Reply to  Prickle
7 years ago

Going to respectfully disagree with you here. I still think DiRado’s 200 back wins if we’re measuring unexpected excitement and pleasant surprise. She swam the 200 fly, not 200 back, at Pan Pacs. She didn’t crack 2:10 until June 2015.

18 months there was plenty of chatter that Ledecky could/would be on the 4×100 free relay. https://swimswam.com/simone-manuel-splits-the-fastest-ever-100-free-to-anchor-stanfords-record-breaking-relay/

Reply to  TheTroubleWithX
7 years ago

I am not comparing Anthony Ervin against Maya DiRado against Simone Manuel against Katie Ledecky. All these swimmers made me jumping from the sofa, screaming running around the room and high-fiveing everybody on my way. Such an excitement lasted for several days. I just wanted to underline that all their wins were evenly unexpected.
Yes there were some talks about possibility of Katie Ledecky to participate in 400 relay but mostly because she told us that she would be very happy if it happens. Who wouldn’t be? But she was #10 among American sprinters at the end of 2015 with her 54.55. To be #6 required to be under under 54. Did it looked feasible 10 months ago? Maybe,… Read more »

7 years ago


About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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