Katie Ledecky's medal prospects are the cherry on top of an astonishing swimming career

Katie Ledecky has won the most gold medals in women’s swimming history

Katie Ledecky of United States celebrates on the podium after winning gold in the Women's 800m Freestyle Final on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
(Image credit: Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky’s medal collection has seen her make history as the winner of the most golds in women's swimming history and now at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, she looks set for victory once again. 

Katie Ledecky has inspired people across the world with her astonishing swimming talent. From the moment she dives into the pool, all eyes are on her in her competitive races. Now she is preparing to secure even more gold medals to add to her already impressive total as she competes at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Able to achieve sporting success over both the endurance and speed races, her skill is truly extraordinary and her versatility means there could be many more gold medals coming her way before the closing ceremony. 

Now, with the expectations of an entire nation upon her, many fans will be wondering about Katie’s swimming career. Here we reveal all you need to know about the champion swimmer as Katie looks at add even more Olympic gold medals to her name...


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Is Katie Ledecky swimming in the 2021 Olympics?

As loyal fans of the amazing swimmer will already know, Katie Ledecky is indeed swimming in the 2021 Olympics. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics that were originally set to take place last July were postponed, leaving Katie amongst the thousands of athletes unable to compete. Despite this, she and her fellow sportspeople were eager to show exactly what they’re capable of as the Games kicked off in Japan on July 23rd. 

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Now taking place this year, the Tokyo Games are still being referred to as the 2020 Olympics and Katie is part of the 613-person strong Team USA.

What events will you see Katie Ledecky at the 2020 Olympics?  

Known for both her astonishing endurance and speed skills in the pool, Katie Ledecky’s 2020 Olympic schedule is unsurprising a mix of both styles of event. Katie is already through to the final of the Women’s 200m Freestyle and will take on the  first ever Olympic Women’s 1500m Freestyle final on the same day, with the Women’s 800m Freestyle Heat 4 to come on Thursday July 29th. 

And that’s not all as her efforts have already seen Katie secure her first Olympic medal - a silver medal in the 400m Freestyle which she narrowly lost to Australia’s Ariarne Titmus on July 26.

Katie Ledecky Olympic medals count 

Across the three Olympic Games Katie Ledecky has competed at so far, the US swimmer has come away with a remarkable 7 Olympic medals, including 5 golds and 2 silvers, following her recent second place finish in the 400m Freestyle in Japan. In London 2012, Katie secured her very first Olympic medal, and despite this being her debut, it was a gold. 

She won this accolade in the 800m Freestyle, an event she has yet to reach the final of in Tokyo. This was followed by a further four golds and one silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Many people might be wondering how much a gold medal is worth and how much an athlete earns for winning and Katie is certainly ahead of the pack when it comes to her medal count. The silver was gained in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, though her performance in the 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay achieved one of her four golds. Sadly for Team USA, it was Australia who snatched victory in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay this year, but the relay over the longer distance has yet to take place. 

We’ll just have to wait and see if Katie will help Team USA swim their way to glory once again to retain their Rio Olympic title in Tokyo.

How old is Katie Ledecky? 

Kathleen Genevieve Ledecky, known as Katie, is 27-years-old and was born in March 1997 in the US capital, Washington DC. And it seems that swimming runs in the family, as Katie previously told Forbes that her mom also enjoyed swimming throughout her college years. 

“My mom swam throughout college, and wanted to make sure my brother and I were comfortable in the water,” she said. “It was really my brother who wanted to join the swim team, and my parents didn’t push us into swimming.”

However, she went on to add that both of her parents were “incredibly important” to her success over the years.

“My parents were troopers in waking up early to take me to practice throughout middle school and high school,” she said. “It was a real team effort, as my brother and I were at different high schools, practicing at different pools.

“It’s a time I look back at very fondly, and some of the best time was being in the car, one-on-one time with my mom or dad, listening to music in the car ride home, making playlists.”

What college does Katie Ledecky go to?

Back in 2012, Katie Ledecky accepted an athletic scholarship to swim for Stanford University’s women’s team. The Olympian graduated from there in June this year with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. 

Taking to Twitter to celebrate her big day, which came just over a month before she set off for Tokyo, Katie wrote, ‘A happy @Stanford graduation day from Omaha #Stanford2021 #SwimTrials21 #GoStanford’. 

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The delighted caption was the perfect accompaniment to the sweet snap she shared of herself and two of her fellow swimmers and graduates, Brooke Forde and Katie Drabot. In the picture, Katie and her friends can be seen beaming in their robes and mortar boards, with their iconic swimsuits worn underneath as they posed in front of the Stanford pool.

Where does Katie Ledecky train?

Katie Ledecky is understood to have trained at the swimming pool at Stanford University during her time there. However this wasn’t always possible during the pandemic and with the Olympics coming up, there was no time to waste. Instead, the swimmer is understood to have trained in a backyard pool for several months during this time. According to Insider, Katie revealed to them that she and her USA swimming teammate Simone Manuel found this solution. 

"Simone and I spent three months training in a backyard pool," Katie shared. "A very kind family in the Bay Area here allowed us to go to their backyard every day and swim."

Katie Ledecky of Team United States reacts after competing in the Women's 200m Freestyle Semifinal

(Image credit: Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The swimmer also discussed how swimming as usual helped to give her a sense of “normalcy” at this difficult time. 

“So we were just able to maintain a level of fitness, keep that feel for the water, and it was just great to have some sense of normalcy during that time by going to swim,” she declared. 

Now after months of hard training, Katie could be set to bring home another prized collection of medals from this year’s Olympics. 

When was Katie Ledecky’s first Olympics?

Though it might only seem like yesterday, Katie Ledecky made her Olympic debut at the London 2012 Olympics. Now, almost a decade later, she is going for gold once more and has already won the most gold medals in history for a female swimmer. 

Silver medallist Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain, gold medallist Katie Ledecky of the United States, and bronze medallist Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain

(Image credit: Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

In London, she was just 15 years old when she went on to win her first gold medal, beating Britain's Rebecca Adlington and Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia. It was here that Katie showcased her extraordinary talent to the world and proved she was already the one to beat in the Freestyle events.

Katie Ledecky lost to Australia’s Ariarne Titmus in 400m freestyle  

Katie Ledecky might well be accustomed to coming away victorious given her distinguished career so far, however she has suffered a high profile loss this week. Despite going in as one of the pre-race favorites in the 400m Freestyle and being the defending Olympic Champion, Katie sadly couldn’t quite edge her way to another victory and suffered her first 2020 Olympic loss. 

Katie Ledecky of Team United States poses with the silver medal for the Women's 400m Freestyle Final on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

(Image credit: Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Instead, the world record holder secured a silver medal with a time of 57.36, coming second to Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus who finished in 56.69 seconds. As reported by the New York Times, Katie opened up about her loss to Ariarne afterwards, praising her rival’s skill.

“You’re just trying to find every little part to try to inch ahead,” she explained. “She flipped a little bit ahead coming into the last 50. I could see her and I knew that she wasn’t fading. I felt like I was still right there.”

“I had a fast last 50,” Katie went on to add. “She just had a really fast last 50.”

Katie Ledecky currently holds three world records 

She may have narrowly come second to Ariarne Titmus this week, but as Katie Ledecky looks ahead to delivering fast times and gold medal winning performances in her upcoming heats and finals, it might be a comfort to know that she’s already the holder of three world records. Katie currently holds the records in the women’s 400m, 800m and 1500m Freestyle events. 

Not only that, she has broken 14 world records throughout her career and continues to set high standards and goals for herself.

Katie Ledecky of Team United States reacts after competing in the Women's 200m Freestyle Semifinal

(Image credit: Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Speaking to Forbes ahead of her recent Olympic appearance, Katie explained, “I just keep setting goals for myself. That probably sounds easier said than done, but I have always had my eyes set on something more. I think back to 2012, when I won that first gold in London, and I had a lot of fun.”

Whilst her accolade of being the breaker of 14 world records is something the champion swimmer proudly declares in her Twitter biography alongside her medal achievements. Now Katie Ledecky could be updating it very soon with some equally impressive Olympic achievements! 

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.


Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.


In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 


After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!