Other Sports

Other Sports

Katie Ledecky's summer plans - and those in the months leading up to it - officially changed on Tuesday when the International Olympic Committee announced that the Olympics will be postponed for a year.

The 2020 Olympic Games, set to take place in Tokyo, Japan beginning July 24, were postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic. The games will be postponed until 2021, but a new official start date has yet to be announced.

Ledecky, a five-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Maryland native, was likely set to compete in five events during the 2020 Games. Just hours after the news broke about the Tokyo Games being postponed, Ledecky joined NBC Sports' Mike Tirico on a conference call, where she explained the committee made the right call.

"I think it was the right call," Ledecky said. "Good thing we know it now, rather than waiting another week to find out or be at risk for another couple of weeks. I think we're all happy that we can take a step back now and really do our part. We know we're all in the same boat and we're going to get through it together."

Ledecky spoke to several of her USA swimming counterparts and told Tirico that the entire team is on board with the decision that was made.

"We're all happy that we know now and can take a step back, stay inside and do our part to help fight this virus and support those who are the true heroes doing everything they can to heal the sick and to find ways to stop the spread," she said. "We're going to do what we can to stay in shape, but the real training has to take a backseat right now."

 

Prior to the announcement, Ledecky said she was struggling to find a place to train. She spent most of her time training at Stanford, but the university closed down mid-March. She was left scrambling, trying to find a place to train with the Olympics just a handful of months away.

"For a period of time, we had been told the Olympics were still on and that you've got to do the best that you can," she said. "So we were scrambling, trying to figure out what to do about training. But when it came down to it, we could kind of see what was coming and knew that this postponement was inevitable."

While she won't be training in the pool for the foreseeable future, Ledecky doesn't think the postponement of the Games will impact her too much. Once she has a more clear idea of when the postponed games will take place, Ledecky will devise a plan to prepare and train.

Although her current training schedule has been thrown off, Ledecky doesn't see think the postponement of the Games will be a setback for her, however.

"It's a new challenge that we're all ready to adapt to," Ledecky said. "It's going to take a couple weeks to put together some plans. I think I stay focused on my goals and my day-to-day training. With this, my goals won't change for this year. They will just be for next year. I'm still committed to working towards those goals."

Every four years, the Olympic Games bring the entire world together. Although they won't happen in 2020, Ledecky thinks the Games in 2021 can have a lasting impact globally, as hopefully the coronavirus pandemic will be in the rearview mirror by then.

"I can't help but smile when I think about the Olympics next year and how hopefully the world can come together and celebrate the hard work that has been done right now to stop the spread, flatten the curve and all do our part," Ledecky said. "With sports, and the Olympics especially, there are always these great stories of adversity that athletes face and what they're able to overcome. Right now, we're kind of all facing medical adversity as a global community. I think we're all capable of getting through this time and coming out on the other end. Hopefully, the Olympics in Tokyo will truly be a celebration of that."