|Women's 800 metre freestyle|
at the Games of the XXX Olympiad
|Venue||London Aquatics Centre|
|Dates||August 2, 2012 (heats)|
August 3, 2012 (final)
|Competitors||36 from 30 nations|
|Winning time||8:14.63 AM|
Aged only 15, American Katie Ledecky narrowly missed the world record on the final lap to recapture the Olympic title for the Americans since Brooke Bennett topped the podium in 2000. Strengthening her lead almost the entire race, she headed into the 750-metre turn under world-record pace, and pulled off a stunning upset from the rest of the field to post a personal best and smash Janet Evans' 23-year-old U.S. record in 8:14.63. Spain's Mireia Belmonte García added a second silver to her Olympic hardware in a national record of 8:18.76. Meanwhile, Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington, the reigning Olympic champion, tried to hold on with Ledecky earlier through the race, but faded down the stretch to pick up a bronze in 8:20.32.
New Zealand's Lauren Boyle produced a spectacular swim to finish with a fourth-place time and an Oceanian record in 8:22.72. Meanwhile, Denmark's Lotte Friis, the defending bronze medalist, opened up the race with an early lead, but dropped back to fifth in 8:23.86 to hold off a fast-charging Hungarian Boglárka Kapás (8:23.89) on the final lap by almost a fingertip. France's Coralie Balmy (8:29.26) and Venezuela's Andreina Pinto (8:29.28) rounded out the field in one of the program's long-distance pool races.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Rebecca Adlington (GBR)||8:14.10||Beijing, China||16 August 2008|||
|Olympic record||Rebecca Adlington (GBR)||8:14.10||Beijing, China||16 August 2008|||
|3||Katie Ledecky||United States||8:14.63||AM|
|6||Mireia Belmonte García||Spain||8:18.76||NR|
|4||Rebecca Adlington||Great Britain||8:20.32|
|4||2||Lauren Boyle||New Zealand||8:22.72||OC|
- "Swimming: Results & Schedules". London 2012. NBC Olympics. 29 July 2012. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
- Brennan, Christine (4 August 2012). "Katie Ledecky, 15, wins 800 free, breaks Janet Evans' record". USA Today. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Harris, Beth (3 August 2012). "Olympics 2012: Bethesda's Katie Ledecky, 15, wins 800 free". Washington Times. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- White, Duncan (3 August 2012). "Rebecca Adlington has to settle for bronze in 800m freestyle as 15-year-old American Katie Ledecky wins gold". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- "2012 London Olympics: Katie Ledecky, 15, Rattles World Record With American Record Victory in 800 Free; Mireia Belmonte Garcia, Rebecca Adlington Complete Podium". Swimming World Magazine. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- "Emotional Boyle 'proud' of fourth in 800m freestyle". TVNZ. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Lohn, John (15 August 2008). "We Loved You While You Lasted Janet, Rebecca Adlington Erases Longest Standing World Record With Evans' Mark in 800 Free". Swimming World Magazine. Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Adlington storms to second gold". BBC Sport. 16 August 2008. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Women's 800m Freestyle – Heats". London 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.