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Norah O’Donnell Interviews Katie Ledecky

Norah O’Donnell Interviews Katie Ledecky

You may have seen Katie Ledecky on “CBS This Morning” back in September — fantastic exposure for the sport nearly a year in advance of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.  It just continues to amaze me how incorrectly swimming is reported even by a mainstream media outlet like CBS.

Norah O’Donnell, co-host of “CBS This Morning”, states this within the first minute of the interview:

In this year’s World Swimming Championships in Russia, 18-year-old Katie Ledecky did what no swimmer has ever done before: She won every single race in the freestyle category, it’s a feat now known as the “Ledecky slam.”

No, Ledecky didn’t win “every single race in the freestyle category”.  You know it.  I know it.  Everyone in the world of swimming knows this isn’t true.  So, why does O’Donnell suggest that she did?  To get Americans that aren’t involved with swimming excited for the 2016 Olympics or was she simply mistaken?

A record setting endurance athlete and a sprinter all in one.  Nobody can win both a sprint and a marathon and you do that.

Until she starts winning the 50 Free (aka “The Splash and Dash” — a term actually used around the world of swimming), I’m not so sure anyone is calling her a “sprinter”.

Ledecky will still be a teenager at the 2016 Games in Rio where she could repeat her “Ledecky Slam” across a total of 7 events.  If she does, it will be a feat no other female swimmer has ever accomplished.

It’s hard to repeat her 200/400/800/1500 feat since the 1500 isn’t an Olympic event…


After this past weekend, though, Ledecky might actually have 7 opportunities to medal.  Thanks to her 53.75 100 Freestyle at the #ArenaProSwim meet in Texas, she might be able to grab another relay spot on top of an extra individual event.    

Her potential line up:

  • Individual:  100 Free, 200 Free, 400 Free, 800 Free
  • Relay:  4×100 Free, 4×100 Medley, 4×200 Free

Lastly, who in the world was/is actually referring to her 200/400/800/1500 sweep as the “Ledecky Slam”?

After searching for “Ledecky Slam” on Twitter, it seems that Dianna Marie Russini may have coined the phrase, which got picked up by other major media outlets like the Washington Post.

A whopping 24 tweets have the words “Ledecky” and “Slam” in them.  But, media outlets apparently still think it’s marketing gold.

Pun intended.