Continued from page 1

Ledecky watched Franklin and Phelps win gold medals before her only race of the games.

“I got really pumped up when I saw that Missy and Michael had really good swims,” the youngster said. “I was ready to scream when I saw Missy’s race, but I kept it to myself and used it as extra energy.”

Ledecky dropped 5.15 seconds from her time of 8.19.78 at last month’s U.S. trials, when she broke the trials record and won by 2.09 seconds. She just missed making the team in the 400 free, having broken Evans‘ national age group record while finishing third.

“My game plan has always been go out fast but not too fast because it’ll affect me later on in the race,” Ledeckysaid about her Olympic win. “I tried to go out a little more controlled, but I just got so excited and started racing. I’ve been working on that back half so I was able to come home hard.”

Ledecky’s big time drop combined with questions about the use of performance-enhancing drugs directed at 16-year-old Ye Shiwen of China after she won two golds at these games prompted a reporter to ask the American if she was cheating.

“It’s totally false,” Ledecky answered calmly. “I just put in a lot of hard work this past year. Just progressively setting short-term and long-term goals. I’ve been dropping time progressively.”

She trains with Curl-Burke Swim Club based in the northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.Ledecky attends Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda.

“I’m really excited to get back there,” she said. “They had a little Olympic viewing party there. I can’t imagine how excited they are. I’m really thankful for their support.”