Katie Ledecky is ready to show everyone why she is arguably the best female swimmer in the world. But just like every Olympic athlete, Ledecky has had to adjust the way she prepares for the Tokyo Games in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. PopCulture.com recently caught with the 24-year-old five-time Olympic gold medalist, who detailed her training during the pandemic.
"The first three months I was training in a backyard pool with Simone Manuel in a two-lane, 25-yard, backyard pool, at a neighbor's house, so it was good to be able to stay in the water, but it was pretty different from our normal training routine," Ledecky told PopCulture. "Our normal training facilities opened back up in mid-June of 2020, and ever since then, I've been back training at Stanford under lots of new protocols. But I'm able to train with my teammates, distancing testing, all of those different things. So, it's been a little different, but it also feels pretty normal once we hit the water and we get in our workouts."
The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for July of 2020, which was around the same time the COVID-19 cases were at their peak worldwide. The event will now begin on July 23 of this year, and while things have calmed down compared to last year, the pandemic remains a big issue, which makes competing in this year's Olympics more challenging than in year's past.
"The Olympic committee they're starting to put out more and more information each day about some of those different testing and other measures," Ledecky stated. "But, you know, we've been doing that on a regular basis in our training environment, so I feel pretty comfortable and confident with all of that. And I know it's going to feel like a little different Olympics, it's going to look different, won't have quite as many spectators, we won't have our family at the Olympics, but I think we're still going to be able to have a great game and a great experience in Tokyo."
Ledecky is confident she will be successful in Tokyo and at 24 years old, she will likely take part in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. But will she be up for the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will take place in Los Angeles?
"Not very many athletes have the opportunity to compete on home soil at an Olympics, though," she said. "That's definitely something I am thinking about pursuing. I'm not ready to commit to telling you that I'm for sure going to be there, but I'm just taking it one day at a time, one year at a time, and really evaluating where I'm at in life at those different moments."