Aug 9, 2016 / 03:02 am
Simone Biles (story in Part 1) and Katie Ledecky are two of the names to know in this year’s summer Olympic games in Rio.
… Katie Ledecky is also one of the top athletes to watch at this year’s games.
A 19 year-old swimmer, two-time Olympic gold medalist and nine-time world champion, Ledecky returns to the Olympics after taking home the gold in the women’s 800-meter freestyle swim at the summer games in London in 2012. At the time, she was just 15 years old.
The Bethesda, Maryland athlete has no obvious physiological advantages. Measuring in at 6 feet tall, she is often on the shorter end of the swim roster. Her hands and feet aren’t particularly large, and her general physique offers her no upper hand – so much so that a summary of her physical-assessment tests at the U.S. Olympic Training Center referred to her as “remarkably unremarkable.”
But what is remarkable about Ledecky is her inner drive. A young woman with a gentle demeanor outside of the pool, Ledecky swims with an “aggression and the kind of fury” the moment she begins a competition. She’s adopted a type of “galloping” stroke typically used by male swimmers like Michael Phelps, and has a “tough as nails” determination to be the best, according to her coaches.
“She’s the greatest athlete in the world today by far,” Michael J. Joyner, an anesthesiologist and researcher for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., specializing in human performance and physiology, told the Washington Post. “She’s dominating by the widest margin in international sport, winning by 1 or 2 percent. If [a runner] won the 10,000 meters by that wide a margin, they’d win by 100 meters. One or 2 percent in the Tour de France, over about 80 hours of racing, would be 30 or 40 minutes. It’s just absolutely remarkable.”
Like Biles, Ledecky has shattered world records. She is the current world-record holder in the 400-, 800-, and 1,500-meter freestyle (long course). She also holds the fastest times in the 500-, 1000-, and 1,650-yard freestyle events.
Also like Biles, Ledecky’s Catholic faith is central to her identity.
Ledecky attended Catholic school – Little Flower School in Bethesda through 8th grade, and then Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart for high school – her whole life.
“My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been and it always will be. It is part of who I am and I feel comfortable practicing my faith. It helps me put things in perspective,” Ledecky told the Catholic Standard in a recent interview.
She also confirmed that she says a “Hail Mary” before each event.
“I do say a prayer – or two – before any race. The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer and I find that it calms me,” she told the Catholic Standard.
After winning her first Olympic gold 4 years ago, Ledecky paid a visit to the convent of the sisters from her grade school, Crux reported. She wanted to thank the sisters for their support over the years, and give them a chance to celebrate with her. …