Katie Ledecky has her sights set on the 2024 Paris Olympics. What about the 2028 games?

Katie Ledecky has her sights set on the 2024 Paris Olympics. What about the 2028 games?

Katie Ledecky is committed to training for the Paris Olympics while also taking on the role of an advocate for women and girls in sports in an endorsement deal with Athleta.

Katie Ledecky, the greatest female swimmer in history, is a self-described “sports nerd” who always tunes the TV to a game, so she knows all about the dramatic changes taking place in the women’s sports landscape.

“I’m always flipping through the channels, just seeing the number of women’s matches and dates on TV,” Ledecky said in a phone interview the other day. “I’m seeing more and more of that. It’s an exciting time, just to bring more attention to women’s sport and have some really great stars showing what they can do, just demonstrating what women can do at this level.

It’s not just on TV. While training for the Olympics in Paris this summer, she saw fans lined up for an afternoon gymnastics meet at the University of Florida as she walked into her 6 a.m. practice.

And while Ledecky and Caitlin Clark haven’t met yet, she, like almost everyone, is a huge fan.

“She’s someone you watch and you just see how much she loves to play, loves to put on a show, loves to push the boundaries, isn’t afraid to take those long threes,” Ledecky said. “She just plays with a fearlessness that I can relate to.”

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Ledecky, who turns 27 on March 17 and is just months away from what would be a fourth consecutive trip to the Summer Olympics, is increasingly embracing a role outside the pool as one of the world’s most famous, enduring and successful athletes. She is too young to be an elder statesman but relishes the opportunity to be a role model and advocate for women and girls in sport.

So it should come as no surprise that Ledecky just signed her latest endorsement deal with women’s performance, lifestyle and sportswear company Athleta, a partnership announced Friday morning on USA TODAY Sports. For the next five years, she will be a member of Athleta’s The Power of She Collective and serve as an advisor to Athleta’s The Power of She Fund, which supports organizations aligned with the company’s mission to empower women and girls to build confidence. strength and well-being through sport and movement.

“I do more than just swimming for my training; I do land training, weight training, and Athleta supports me in that in terms of the clothing I wear,” Ledecky said. “I’ve really long admired Athleta’s commitment to supporting women and girls in sport. I’ve been passionate about it since the beginning of my career and I love every opportunity I get to give back or inspire. … There’s a really great movement right now where Athleta is at the forefront of women’s sports, and it’s exciting to be a part of it.”

This summer, Ledecky will be one of the most watched athletes in the world when he goes to Paris to try to add to his Olympic cache of seven gold medals and three silver. While she will likely be favored to win gold in the women’s 800 and 1500 freestyle events, as she did in Tokyo three years ago, she will not be without a challenge as younger swimmers who grew up idolizing her now are one of its biggest rivals.

“I feel good where I am,” she said of her preparation. “I’m doing my best in training, just trying to string a lot of good weeks together. The competitions are tough and there are many great athletes. I know I have to be at the top of my game in a few months (at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June).”

Having been so dominant for so long, she knows a lot is expected of her.

“I think I do pretty well with the perspective I have to have at all times,” she said. “I know there are expectations, but I remain very focused on my personal expectations, which are probably as high or higher than anyone else’s. So I just try to stay true to that.

No matter what happens in Paris, Ledecky says she will continue to swim competitively. The Summer Olympics return to the United States in 2028 in Los Angeles. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

“I still have L.A. in mind, so it’s not completely out of the question,” she said. “I’m definitely taking it year by year, focused on Paris this year, but I’m not going to finish after Paris. I will continue.”

As she and we look to the future, it’s worth remembering that her new contract with Athleta is for five years. At this point, it will be about three years until the next Summer Olympics in Australia. Brisbane 2032 anyone?

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