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.