The March 1997 Project: Simone Biles’ and Katie Ledecky’s parallel careers

Biles, Ledecky dominate their sports

Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles

19-year-olds Simone Biles and Katie Ledecky, both born in mid-March 1997, are both megastars at the top of their game at the Rio Olympics. They each have the chance to come back from Rio with up to five medals.

The facts:

Swimming sensation Katie Ledecky won a surprising 800m freestyle Olympic gold at just 15 years old at the 2012 London Games. At the subsequent world championships, she’s never lost a race. At the 2016 Olympics, she has so far claimed gold in the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle, plus won a silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay. She attempts to defend her 800m freestyle title in Friday’s final.

Simone Biles burst onto the scene in 2013 with her first all-around World title. She hasn’t lost an all-around competition since, claiming two more World all-around titles – becoming the first woman ever to win three straight – and a bevy of apparatus medals for a total of 14. She made her Olympic debut in Rio and won gold with her “Final Five” teammates on Tuesday; she’ll look to prove her dominance again in the all-around final on Thursday.

Simone Biles Katie Ledecky
Birthdate: March 14, 1997 March 17, 1997
Training location: Spring, Texas Bethesda, Maryland
Started their sport age 6, 2003 age 6, 2003
First major international competition 2013 World Championships: team, all-around and floor gold, vault silver, beam bronze 2012 London Olympics: 800m freestyle gold
First world championships titles 2013: 3 golds 2013: 4 golds
Total World golds 10 9
Graduated from high school 2015 2015
Has a driver’s license? Yes No
Signature moves: The Biles: floor exercise skill consisting of two back flips in the straight body position with a half twist before landing “Ledecky Slam”: 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle golds in same world championships
Records: Most world championships golds won by a female gymnast; first female gymnast to win three straight all-around titles Currently holds 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle world records
Professional status Turned professional on July 29, 2015  Stayed amateur and will compete for Stanford in the fall

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