Katie Ledecky was in 2021 mode just days after news that the Tokyo Olympics were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 15-time world championship swimmer reveals how she ‘shifted’ her mentality to prepare for next year’s Games!
The Olympics only come around every four years. Imagine training for months at your craft — it’s the only thing you eat, breathe and sleep — only to find out that the games won’t go as planned. Katie Ledecky, along with the roster of elite athletes who were set to compete at this summer’s Games, lived it. On March 24, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by about one year. The announcement came just four months before the Games were set to begin. Never before had the Olympic Games been postponed or canceled for something other than war. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic.
Katie recently took HollywoodLife inside her journey to the Games as she prepares for 2021, though there’s been no official date set. “We’re one year out and I’ve been working really hard over the past couple of months,” the five-time Olympic gold medalist told us, while discussing her new “Game On” campaign with BIC Soleil Razors. “Postponing the Olympics was a difficult decision, but it’s one that I fully support it” Katie admitted. Nonetheless, it wasn’t the easiest news to digest.
“It took a few days, but once I got my head wrapped around it, I really was able to think about how I can start working hard towards 2021,” the 15-time world championship swimmer (the most of any woman in history) said. “It was more of a mental thing than a physical thing. I knew that we would be able to get back to work and figure out how to prepare for the next year,” Katie explained, adding, “I was able to shift my mindset pretty quickly towards 2021.”
“We have [more time] to get ready for Tokyo and everyday is important for us, every choice from here on out, whether it’s our nutrition, training, our sleep. I know that all those decisions we make over the next year are crucial for us to achieve our goals and to be our most competitive and fearless selves to when we get to Tokyo,” Katie explained, stressing that she, along with her teammates “really want to represent Team USA well in Tokyo. We want to use this extra year as a benefit to us as an opportunity to try and be better.”
Katie, who just turned 23 on March 17, has been training in backyard pools since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. On top of that, she’s currently a psychology major at Stanford, which is something she believes gives her an edge while swimming competitively.
“I think it gives me some insight and it’s been really interesting to learn about and almost observe within myself. — Taking all the experiences I’ve gained and learning about what I need to be thinking about before a race to have a great race,” she explained. “What I’ve found over the years when I think about my best races, I think about each world record that I’ve set. I can really say that when I was about to dive in, I knew that I was going to have a great race, I knew that I put in that work and I built up that confidence to really have an opportunity to do something special,” Katie said, adding that she strives to feel that confidence each and every day.
Katie, along with her USA Swimming teammate Simone Manuel, are the proud faces of BIC’s “Game On” campaign — which is about the importance of having self-confidence and not being afraid to show it.
“We’re both really proud to partner with BIC and to show the importance of confidence. And, that’s what we’ve been doing over the past couple of months — building that confidence,” Katie said. “We know it’s going to be a lot of hard work and a lot of focus. This campaign, ‘Game On,’ is really all about moving forward and having that confidence to do our best and I think that’s the message that everyone can take to heart, especially during this time,” she explained, adding, “Simone and I use BIC Soleil Sensitive Advanced razor in our routine and it’s going to help us feel really fast and smooth in the water when we compete in Tokyo next year.”
Following the Tokyo Games postponement, the Giving Games was launched, which is a collaborative fundraising effort to support and sustain U.S. sports federations and their athletes on their journey to Tokyo in 2021. A number of National Governing Bodies (NGBs), the organizations that help train and support athletes in their quest to compete on Team USA in the Olympic & Paralympic Games, came together to make the Giving Games possible.