Team Panasonic: Katie Ledecky
A Champion. For Progress.
You would not be surprised to hear that elite Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky was inspired early on by her Team Panasonic teammate Michael Phelps. But you might be surprised to learn that swimming didn’t come first for her growing up – it was education. She sees the two going hand in hand and has always applied similar levels of dedication to both pursuits. So when the pandemic hit and the Olympic Games were postponed, she made the best of her time by re-enrolling at Stanford University to continue working remotely toward her psychology degree.
And though Katie spent the past year immersing herself in science – a field of study that she’s always found interesting – she still has had one eye on Olympic gold. Like other athletes, she had to rapidly adapt her training regimen in response to the pandemic. Working with her coach and a training partner, she’s kept her fighting spirit sharp – a spirit that makes her one of the most feared competitors in the pool.
A champion's focus
Katie is studying psychology, not statistics, yet she knows that the odds of any athlete arriving and thriving at the Olympic level are incredibly small. She also knows that it is not luck that brought her to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. It is pure, unstoppable determination. She believes that every moment in life, the wins and the losses, result from the work you put in – the early-morning practice and the late-night homework. Believe in yourself, but log the reps just to be sure.
In Tokyo, Katie hopes to repeat her performances from the London 2012 and Rio 2016 games, adding another gold or two to her collection of five Olympic gold medals. In total, she’s won 34 medals and broken 14 world records, making her the most successful female swimmer in history. And she’s not content to rest on her laurels.
“I’m just as motivated as I was when I first made it to the Olympics.” – Katie Ledecky
A champion for education
Katie has already begun her next challenge: helping to inspire a new generation of young people in the classroom. She’s partnered with Panasonic to create “Dive Into STEM Education," a digital program that opens the door for science, technology, engineering and mathematics opportunities to students who might not have considered them before. Once fully up and running, the program will reach middle school students in San Francisco, California; Washington, D.C.; Newark, New Jersey; Denver, Colorado and Reno, Nevada.
“Any opportunity I have in life to inspire young kids to pursue their passions, I’m going to take it.” – Katie Ledecky
For many of these students, this might be their first opportunity to explore STEM firsthand and interact with these concepts. Katie’s goal is to inspire kids by providing them insight into STEM, giving them the chance to pursue their passions if they have interest in this area.
“Whether they use the skills in a career or just learn them for life, it’s very important that they have access to them to help propel them forward.” – Katie Ledecky