American freestyle ace Katie Ledecky recently participated in a Japanese STEAM learning program via her partnership with electronics giant Panasonic. Japanese media took the opportunity to speak with the 23-year-old multi-Olympic gold medalist, with Ledecky giving her view of the postponed Olympics, her current training set-up, and more.
When specifically asked about the Olympic Games now delayed until July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ledecky tells Yomiuri Shimbun, “I’m glad that it was postponed rather than canceled. When people are isolated from each other, we can connect the world together [via the Games]. I hope the Tokyo Games will be the best Olympics. I hope they bring a sense of unity to the world.”
Drilling it down on a personal level, Ledecky states, “I’ve done a lot of hard work for this year, but I think the postponement decision was right for our health and the world. It was very difficult to understand, but we have to accept it as an athlete. It’s just one of two options: accept or not accept.”
“It’s training to maintain your fitness level and stay in good shape. Once you have a large pool, you can go back to practice to really evolve.
“After a long break, it takes 5-6 weeks to regain the feeling in the water. I won’t be in competition for 2-2 months but, fortunately I’m in good shape. If I had a meet next week, I’d be ready. I don’t think I can swim at my best, but I can at least race.”
Speaking of racing Ledecky gives a glimpse into her goals for next year’s Olympic Games. Although she says she doesn’t count on a certain number of medals, she says she is “definitely aiming for gold in the 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m individual freestyle events, as well as the 800m free relay.”
As far as her STEAM experience, Ledecky says of her virtual talking tour, “It’s a huge opportunity for me. It’s an important time in my life as an athlete at the Olympics, and as a student who is still learning, I can give something back.
“Communicating to the next generation is important as part of the Olympic movement, and Panasonic’s vision is the same as in the Olympics, which is to “inspire and inspire the next generation.” I want to take responsibility and see it as a big part of my athlete life. Not just swimming, having a good time, training and racing, but looking for opportunities to contribute outside the pool. (Education) is my passion.”