Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky said she simply loves swimming too much right now to imagine giving up the sport after the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I can say pretty confidently that I’m not going to be done in 2024,” the 26-year-old Ledecky told reporters during a media session for the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. “I just don’t see myself hanging it up after next year. I just love the sport too much right now. I can’t wrap my head around being done next year.”
When reminded that the LA 2028 Olympics are exactly five years away — Ledecky will be 31 at the time — the greatest distance freestyler in history seemed optimistic about her odds of competing, but stopped short of a full commitment.
“I mean, L.A. is definitely in the picture,” Ledecky said. “I can’t fully commit to it at this point in 2023. But if I’m still loving it, if I feel like my body can do it. I think I would give it a shot. It’s amazing to have that opportunity to swim in the United States at an Olympics. It’s a rare opportunity, so something that I’m excited about. Whether I’m competing or not, I’ll definitely be there.”
Ledecky experienced her major international breakout at the London 2012 Olympics with gold in the 800 free and has since competed at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021 Games. If she makes the U.S. Olympic rosters for Paris 2024 and LA 2028, she would be just the third American swimmer to attend five Olympics following Michael Phelps and Dara Torres.
After winning her third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 800 free in Tokyo, Ledecky said she was “at least going to ’24, maybe ’28.” No swimmer has ever won the same event at five Olympics. She’s one of only four swimmers to win three Olympic titles in a row in the same event.
For now, Ledecky is focused on the 400-meter freestyle, 800 free, and 1500 free at her sixth World Championships next week. She’s aiming to become the first swimmer ever to win six world titles in one event in the 800 free.
Ledecky already owns 14 individual gold medals, 19 total gold medals, and 22 overall medals at Worlds, all of which are records in women’s swimming. In men’s and men’s swimming, her 19 golds are second only to Phelps.
“There are a lot of great competitors in that race — of course Summer and Ariarne have been incredibly fast over the last two years, and so I know they’ll be right there,” Ledecky said. “And I know there are a lot of other contenders as well.”