Katie LEDECKY 略歴
It can not be easy to be billed as a future female Michael Phelps. But after pulling off a surprise gold medal at London 2012 at the age of 15, and a subsequent five golds at the 2015 Worlds, it was perhaps no surprise that the Washington swimmer ended up being the second most-decorated Olympian in Rio 2016 after the pool legend and USA flag bearer she’s oft-compared to.
Ledecky’s London performance remains astonishing. Having qualified for the 800m freestyle final third overall, she surprised the field by taking gold in the final by more than four seconds – and breaking an American record that had stood since 1989.
Going into the Rio Games, then, a lot was expected – and Ledecky didn’t disappoint. She bagged the 200m, 400m, 800m and 4x200m freestyle (two of them in World Record times), fending off incredibly tough competition from the likes of Sarah Sjostrom.
“She’s always pursuing her personal best with fury,” says Dave Marsh, coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s team. “Where’s the fury coming from? We don’t know, but the stove is running hot.”
Ledecky is the current world record holder in the women’s 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle – breaking the latter record as recently as 2018. With five Olympic golds and 15 World Championship titles, Ledecky is female swimming’s most decorated ever athlete.
Can she keep going, through Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, and truly emulate Phelps? Turning 23 this March, it’s a huge ask to maintain such levels for another two or three Olympics like Phelps – but Ledecky certainly has ambition. She is planning to race four distances in Japan, including the newly-added 1500m freestyle.
“I have no plans of dropping anything,” she said recently about the possibility of four events being too much to manage. “Plans could change, but I think I still have a lot in me. I think I’m very experienced swimming those events. I think I know how to manage my races and manage my energy.”
Adding four more golds to her incredible haul of five already? Don’t bet against it happening. Ledecky is a swimmer on a mission – and the stove looks like it is going to run hot for some time yet.