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After A Year Spent In School, Training, Katie Ledecky Is Ready To Go For 2021

By Chrös McDougall | Dec. 23, 2020, 11:59 a.m. (ET)

Katie Ledecky poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympic shoot on Nov. 23, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.


Fresh off earning her college degree, swimmer Katie Ledecky is ready to ramp up in 2021 in pursuit of a spot on her third U.S. Olympic Team. And if a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available before the Tokyo Games, the five-time Olympic champion told NBC’s “TODAY” Wednesday that she’ll be among the first in line to get it.

“I’m definitely going to get the vaccine when it’s available to me,” she said. “I’m so happy to see some of these health care workers getting it now, and I know eventually it will be available for all of us, and I’m looking forward to getting it.”

The two-time Olympian, 23, spoke to “TODAY” from California, where she’s been living and training while attending Stanford University.

Ledecky had planned to take a break from school this year to focus on the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but with competitions canceled due to COVID-19 she re-enrolled in classes and earlier this month completed her degree in psychology. She has said she plans to pursue an advanced degree in the future, with business or law school as two options.

The Maryland native told “TODAY” her 2020 has otherwise been pretty uneventful, with not a lot on her plate besides training.

“It’s pretty much like everyone else. I’m really only leaving my apartment to go to swim practice and to train,” she said. “I’m spending the holidays by myself at home doing virtual actives with my family just like everyone else.”

Several top U.S. swimmers returned to competition last month at the U.S. Open, the first major domestic competition since the pandemic shut everything down. Ledecky opted not to compete there, though she did race in a pair of minor competitions in November, marking her first competitions since February.

The break from racing hasn’t been too bad, though.

“I actually really love training, so I’ve enjoyed just having a really good block of training over the last couple months,” the 15-time world champion said.

As for the coming months, Ledecky said she’s eager to get to work on making another Olympic team, and she’s hopeful the Tokyo Games can be a celebration of getting past the challenges of 2020.

“Right when the Olympics were postponed I started thinking about how special that really could be with kind of the first time, hopefully, the world is able to come together and cheer on their athletes,” she said, “and I hope that we’re in a good place by July of 2021 and that it can be a tribute to the world being able to come together and defeat the virus.”

Chrös McDougall

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic and Paralympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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