Olympics: Katie Ledecky Has No Retirement Plans; Looking Ahead to Paris, and Maybe Los Angeles

katie ledecky, olympics, Jul 31, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Katie Ledecky (USA) reacts after winning the women's 800m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

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Olympics: Katie Ledecky Has No Retirement Plans; Looking Ahead to Paris, and Maybe Los Angeles

If there was any doubt concerning her future in the sport, Katie Ledecky put the speculation to rest after she concluded her program at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Following her third consecutive gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle, the American distance star confirmed that she will continue on to the 2024 Games in Paris, with the possibility of pursuing the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Ledecky made her Olympic debut in 2012 in London, where she won the first of her six individual gold medals as a 15-year-old. Although she is only 24, Ledecky has put herself through a grind – physically and mentally – to establish herself as perhaps the finest female swimmer in history. Still, she acknowledged a love for the sport and plans to stay competitive.

“I’m still young. Twenty-four is not that old,” Ledecky said during her press conference. “People are sticking around in this sport into their 30s. I still love this sport. I love it more and more every year. I feel I’m going to give every ounce I have to this sport. I love the training, I love the day to day. I’m just going to keep doing it until I feel like it’s time. Obviously, the Olympics in 2028 are in L.A. so that’s kind of out there and appealing also.”

Ledecky collected four medals at the Tokyo Games. She was the gold medalist in the 800 freestyle and 1500 freestyle and added silver medals in the 400 freestyle and 800 freestyle relay. She was also fifth in the 200 freestyle.

Titles in the 200 free and 400 free went to Australian Ariarne Titmus, who was the silver medalist behind Ledecky in the 800 freestyle. A respectful rivalry has developed between the women.

“She swam so fast at her (Australian Olympic) Trials and I was a little off at my Trials and it really pushed me to work hard for that period in between Trials and here,” Ledecky said of Titmus. “I wanted to deliver. I wanted to have that great race that we had in the 400 (freestyle). I wanted to be up there with her and give her a great race. I think we’ve really pushed each other, not just this week but over the past five years in training. Just knowing that we’re both out there working hard and trying to get to this point and get to these races.”

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