Katie Ledecky, Lex Gillette and Sakura Kokumai are all part of Team Panasonic and dedicate to having a positive impact on the world around them.
The Olympic Games are a biennial opportunity to celebrate excellence in athletics. Success at this level requires discipline, dedication, perseverance and an untiring effort towards self-improvement. These qualities don’t exist solely in relation to athletics, however, and often what makes someone a champion on the field extends to other parts of their lives, influencing the way he or she interacts with the world as they strive to make it a better place.
It is these qualities Panasonic sought to highlight when they created Team Panasonic. The team features Olympic and Paralympic athletes Katie Ledecky, Sakura Kokumai, Lex Gillette, all of whom are as dedicated to having a positive impact on the world around them as they are to finding success in athletics. While these athletes are champions in the water, at the dojo or on the track, they are each also champions for the social causes that mean the most to them.
Katie LedeckyWith seven Olympic gold medals and fifteen world championship gold medals, Katie Ledecky is world renowned for her athletic achievements in swimming. When she was 15, she appeared at the Olympic Games London 2012. Undeterred by the pressure of her international debut, Ledecky left the United Kingdom with the gold medal in the women's 800-meter freestyle. And she was just getting started. During the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, she earned four gold medals, one silver medal and two world records - the most awards for any female athlete that year.
Despite being best known for her athletic achievements, education has always been her first passion. She and Panasonic have partnered together to support this cause with Dive into STEM, a program that encourages students to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). To start, the program will serve communities in Newark, New Jersey; Reno, Nevada; Bay Area, California; and the Washington, DC, area, where many of the students will have their first opportunity to get a deep dive into these topics. Through her Dive into STEM Education initiative, Ledecky aims to make STEM opportunities available to the next generation of students.
“Any opportunity I have in life to inspire young kids to pursue their passions, I’m going to take it,” Ledecky said.
For Ledecky, her passion for swimming and education are complementary. In fact, it’s the drive to continuously learn and improve that Ledecky credits for her success both in and out of the pool. When the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were postponed for a year, she decided to re-enroll at Stanford University and continue to work toward her psychology degree, remotely.
During this time, she never lost sight of her competitive goals. At the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, Ledecky cemented her status as the most commanding athlete in the history of women’s swimming. Her wins in the 1500m and 800m freestyle events represented her fifth and sixth career gold medals, with an additional seventh team medal, making her the most decorated female U.S. Olympian of all-time.