“I had a burger after I was done, it was good,” she says of a more than deserved holiday meal.
Ledecky won gold medals in the 1,500m and 800m freestyle in Tokyo and silver in the 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay, reaffirming his status as a unique athlete capable of competing in events of short and long distance. She has now won 10 medals out of three Olympics.
However, it was not easy in Tokyo, as Ledecky, 24, faced stiff competition from two-time Australian Olympic gold medalist Ariarne Titmus and finished fifth in the 200 freestyle.
“(The medals) are just a lot of hard work, not just for me, but for my family, friends, coaches, teammates, just everyone who has been a part of this journey, not just the past five years, but my entire swimming career, ”Ledecky told CNN.
“And it’s an incredible feeling to win two gold and two silver here and compete in my third Olympics. It’s something I never imagined when I first started swimming. “
Speaking to reporters after her 1,500m victory last week, Ledecky acknowledged the pressure of being one of the top athletes in the Olympics, at a time when “everyone in the world is watching “and” the cameras are following you “.
This is a topic that has come to the fore at these Games following Simone Biles’ withdrawal from gymnastics events to protect her sanity.
Ledecky, who won his first gold medal at age 15 in 2012, is no stranger to the weight of public expectations; over time, she says she’s found ways to deal with it.
“I think I took a step back over the years and stuck with my own goals,” she says.
“I am very grateful to my family, friends, coaches and all my teammates who have helped me keep things in perspective and have helped me maintain a balanced life.
“Swimming is not the only thing I love to do. I am also passionate about other things. So I am very happy to finish my studies at Stanford and have a good time there,” added Ledecky, who studied psychology.
“There is so much more to life than swimming and the Olympics, and the people around me remind me of that.”
Tokyo Olympics protocols insist that athletes must leave Japan 48 hours after competition ends.
This means Ledecky’s Games are ending abruptly compared to previous occasions, even though she can’t wait to leave Tokyo with more than four more medals to add to her collection.
“It’s a really special time between the Olympic Trials and the Olympics where you’re with your teammates for about five weeks training and going through that,” she says.
“It’s fun spending all this time together. And then it’s hard when we all have to go and go our separate ways.
“I know I’m just going to share tons and tons of stories with my family and friends from all this trip and experience… I’m really excited to come home and give them a big hug.”