Katie Ledecky Focused on Olympic Goals, Has Not Seen ‘Any Family Member in More than a Year’ Due to Pandemic

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Photo Courtesy: TYR

Katie Ledecky has become one of the best swimmers in the history of the sport through hard work and sacrifice. No surprise there.

But some sacrifices are different than others.

In addition to the hours and hours of training, and the struggles of workouts during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ledecky has had a year-long sacrifice that is a byproduct of the pandemic and having such high goals.

“I don’t like to use the word ‘sacrifice’ because I feel very fortunate to do what I do … I see it more as a challenge and adds a little bit of a push to all of us. Once we get there, we want to show the world all of that work that we have put in,” Katie Ledecky said during Thursday’s Team USA media summit.

But she has sacrificed a lot as she aims for the Olympics that will now have gender equality in the event program.

“I haven’t seen my family in over a year,” Ledecky said. “Not one family member. It is coming soon, and I am really excited about that. I want to make this time doing my craft worth it. I want to make them proud when I compete and it adds a little extra push.”

That is the case with many people throughout the world with their grandparents, but to not see an entire family for an entire year is a sacrifice that has been difficult.

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Katie Ledecky. Photo Courtesy: TYR

“You just see it as a process and it makes the end result even more sweet,” Ledecky said.

In the absence of spending time with family and with training hours limited, Ledecky turned to school.

“I took the 2019-2020 Olympic year off, but in March of 2020 I was able to hop back into classes virtually and finish my degree,” Ledecky said. “It was great to have that to keep my mind occupied and graduating earlier than expected was a silver lining.”

She also learned more about the pandemic from the outset.

“I took some really interesting classes,” she said. “In the spring, right at the beginning of the pandemic, I took a class called, ‘Global Change and Emerging Infectious Disease.’ That class was scheduled before the pandemic broke out, but they really adapted the class to focus on the coronavirus. We had some experts in the country talk to us and it was great to hear from experts. It was nice to hear from them directly and be able to ask questions. We talked about the development of the vaccine. It was a great time to be taking those classes.”

Now that those classes are over, Ledecky is completely focused on the Olympic trials and the Tokyo Olympics.

Then, no matter what happens in Tokyo, she will be focused on celebrating with her family.

“I say I haven’t seen them in a while, but I FaceTime them 2-3 times a day. I have gotten used to that,” Katie Ledecky said. “But it is going to be nice to see my grandmothers and share those moments with all of my family. My family has been able to attend London and Rio, so I know they will miss being able to be in Tokyo, but I will be able to share so many great stories with them. We will enjoy it.”