“I did have a hamburger after I used to be achieved — that tasted good,” she says a few celebratory meal that was greater than deserved.
Ledecky gained 1500m and 800m freestyle golds in Tokyo and silvers within the 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay, reaffirmed her standing as a novel athlete who is ready to compete over quick and lengthy distance occasions. She has now gained 10 medals throughout three Olympic Games.
It wasn’t all smooth-sailing in Tokyo, nonetheless, as 24-year-old Ledecky confronted stern competitors from Australia’s double Olympic gold medalist Ariarne Titmus and completed fifth within the 200m free.
“(The medals) simply characterize lots of onerous work, not only for me, however for my household, my pals, my coaches, my teammates, simply everybody that is been part of this journey, not simply the previous 5 years, however my entire swimming profession,” Ledecky tells CNN.
“And it is a tremendous feeling to be bringing dwelling two golds and two silvers right here and competing in my third Olympics. That’s one thing I by no means would have imagined after I first began swimming.”
Speaking to reporters following her 1500m victory final week, Ledecky acknowledged the strain that comes with being one of many Olympics’ high-profile athletes, a time when “everybody around the globe is watching” and “the cameras comply with you round.”
It’s a topic that has been on the forefront of those Games following Simone Biles’ withdrawal from gymnastics occasions to guard her psychological well being.
Ledecky, who gained her first gold medal as a 15-year-old in 2012, isn’t any stranger to the load of public expectation; over time, she says she’s discovered methods to handle it.
“I believe I’ve gained perspective through the years and have stayed true to my very own targets,” she says.
“I’m very grateful for my household, my pals, my coaches, and all my teammates who have helped me hold issues in perspective and helped me hold a balanced life.
“Swimming will not be the one factor that I get pleasure from doing. I’m captivated with different issues as properly. So I’m actually joyful that I simply completed my diploma at Stanford and simply had a good time there,” added Ledecky, who studied psychology.
“There’s a lot extra to life than swimming and the Olympics, and the folks round me remind me of that.”
Protocols on the Tokyo Olympics insist that athletes should depart Japan 48 hours after they’ve completed competing.
It means Ledecky’s Games are dropped at one thing of an abrupt finish in comparison with earlier events, though she’s trying ahead to leaving Tokyo with extra than simply one other 4 medals so as to add to her assortment.
“It’s a extremely particular time between the Olympic trials and the Olympics the place you are together with your teammates for about 5 weeks coaching and experiencing this,” she says.
“It’s enjoyable to spend all this time collectively. And then it is onerous after we all have to go away and go our separate methods.
“I do know I’m simply going to be sharing tons and tons of tales with my household and pals from this entire journey and expertise … I’m simply actually excited to get dwelling and provides them a giant hug.”