Katie Ledecky with her 1500 free gold medal // Getty Images

Katie Ledecky with her 1500 free gold medal // Getty Images

Swimming

Of fear, failure and world-record brilliance

KAZAN, Russia — Bobbing in the warmup pool before the start of Tuesday night’s finals, a black-and-red swim cap bore this declaration: “Your own worst enemy is your fear.”

For years and years, swimmers from other nations — even if they didn’t want to admit it and would never say so in public — feared the mighty U.S. swim team. This 2015 world championships is only three days old, and there is plenty of racing to go, but one thing, more than anything, is already clear: the fear is gone.

Katie Ledecky after setting a new world record -- in the heats --  in the 1500 free // Getty Images

Katie Ledecky after setting a new world record -- in the heats -- in the 1500 free // Getty Images

Swimming

An indisputable U.S. swim bright spot: Katie Ledecky

KAZAN, Russia — For Katie Ledecky, every single race on the big stage becomes an opportunity to make the superbly difficult look so easy.

On Monday, in the preliminary rounds of the women’s 1500 freestyle, the 30-lap race that swimmers call the mile, Ledecky broke her own world record, touching in 15:27.71, 65-hundredths faster than she had gone last August at the Pan Pacific championships in Australia.

Katie Ledecky with her 400 free gold // Getty Images

Katie Ledecky with her 400 free gold // Getty Images

Swimming

No Michael Phelps but Katie Ledecky is so good

KAZAN, Russia — No Michael Phelps but when you have Katie Ledecky, you get records. So maybe the only ones happier than Ledecky after she set a world championships record Sunday night in the 400-meter freestyle was, well, everyone who  wondered, exactly, what this meet would be like without Phelps, the one and only.

All sports need big stars, and in the absence of Phelps, beyond doubt the biggest name in swim history, Ledecky showed Sunday — again — why she is one of the most gifted, truly thrilling athletes in the Olympic scene.

IOC president Thomas Bach at the opening of the 128th session // photo IOC

IOC president Thomas Bach at the opening of the 128th session // photo IOC

2022 Bid Cities

Talking the talk: IOC elects Beijing for 2022

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Earlier this week, when he opened the 128th International Olympic Committee session, president Thomas Bach declared of Agenda 2020, his would-be reform plan, “We need to demonstrate that we are indeed walking the walk and not just talking the talk.”

On Friday, the members — the very same ones who fell into lockstep in approving Agenda 2020 last December — voted for Beijing to win the 2022 Winter Olympics. The count: 44-40, Beijing over Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at Monday's news conference // screenshot

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh at Monday's news conference // screenshot

2024 Bid Cities

Ding, dong, the wicked Boston bid is dead

From the opening words of Mayor Marty Walsh’s hastily called news conference Monday morning, it was apparent that the wicked Boston 2024 bid was dead. He started by talking about how, back in January, when the U.S. Olympic Committee picked Boston, there was a big celebration. This is how you tell a story when the story is over — going back to when it all started.

This news conference became a sweet trip down memory lane, with thanks to everyone who had taken part, before abruptly making a segue into political comedy and absolute farce. After avowedly being a supporter of the bid for months, here was the mayor now in a race to beat the USOC to the punch in announcing the candidacy was over — saying he would not sign the host-city contract. This even though he had repeatedly committed in months prior to doing just that.