It’s only right that one of America’s most dominant forces in the pool team up with one of it’s most powerful forces in the sea: a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Late last week, Katie Ledecky, along with decorated gymnast Simone Biles, was on site for the new USS Enterprise’s steel-cutting ceremony. The event took place at the Newport News Shipbuilding headquarters in Newport News, Virginia.
Each athlete signed a steel plate that will become part of the new aircraft carrier, and received a tour of the facility.
Ledecky told reporters that she left a note with her signature, which reads: “‘Thank you for your bravery and our freedom.”
She also said, “The people that serve our country are the real heroes. Just to give back and to be able to sponsor a ship that will have some of my heroes on it is such an amazing feeling.”
The superstars are likely the first Olympians to ever sponsor a ship of this kind. Past sponsors have included American diplomat Caroline Kennedy and Susan Ford Bales, daughter of former President Gerald R. Ford.
Usually, ship sponsors make appearances throughout the ship-building progression for milestone events, like christening and commissioning. In the past, sponsors have even tried their hand at construction. Biles said that they hope to come back at some point if their busy training schedules allow.
The USS Enterprise should be delivered to the Navy in 2028, and will be the ninth carrier to bear the name.