Everyone is talking about Katie Ledecky’s world record performance in Sunday night’s 400m freestyle at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, but close behind (in a relative sense) was Virginia’s first-time Olympian Leah Smith, who came away with a bronze medal.
Unsurprisingly, Ledecky dominated the race start to finish with a new world record, coming in at 3:56.46. Great Britain’s Jazmin Carlin finished nearly a full five seconds behind Ledecky at 4:01.23 for silver. Smith gained ground in the final 100, but ultimately was unable to overtake Carlin, coming in at 4:01.92 for the bronze medal.
Smith becomes just the sixth Cavalier to win an Olympic medal. In 2012, both Lauren Perdue and Matt McLean picked up gold medals. Ed Moses won both a gold and silver in 2000, while Melanie Valerio won gold in 1996 and Wendy Weinberg won a bronze medal in 1976.
Bronze! Leah Smith (@lgsmith19) earns the bronze medal in the 400m free! #HoosInRio pic.twitter.com/OCs9lHNKhs— Virginia Swim & Dive (@uvaswimdive) August 8, 2016
A HUGE #wahoowa to @lgsmith19 on bringing home the bronze medal! #Rio2016 #GoHoos #HoosInRio #TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/O5t5knWEH2— Wahoo Central (@WahooCentral) August 8, 2016
#BRONZE for @lgsmith19!!— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) August 8, 2016
Congratulations! Go #TeamUSA! pic.twitter.com/hGGMfmgAI8
.@katieledecky and @lgsmith19 finish first and third for #TeamUSA in the 400m FR! Congratulations! #SwimUnited pic.twitter.com/wrpHgoWGs0— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) August 8, 2016