Ledecky’s Love of God and Country

Already smashing world records in Rio, this young Olympian is committed to faith

Katie Ledecky lived up to every expectation and more Sunday night, when the American Olympic swimmer crushed her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle and snagged an Olympic Gold.

Ledecky, 19, is returning to the Olympics after debuting in the London 2012 games at just 15 years old. Four years older and wiser, she is back breaking records again, but one thing has remained the same — her commitment to her faith.

“I do say a prayer or two before any race. The ‘Hail Mary’ is a beautiful prayer and it calms me.”

“My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been and it always will be. It is part of who I am and I feel comfortable practicing my faith. It helps me put things in perspective,” Ledecky told The Catholic Standard.

Ledecky, who grew up in Washington, D.C., has remained dedicated to her Catholic faith throughout her life — despite her busy training schedule for the Olympics. She attended Catholic elementary school at Little Flower School and then Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart for high school, both in Maryland.

“I received an excellent, faith-filled education at both schools. Having the opportunity to attend academically rigorous schools has facilitated my interest in the world and in serving others and has enriched my life so that it is not solely focused on my swimming and athletics,” Ledecky said.

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Ledecky’s commitment to her Catholic faith keeps her grounded and focused under pressure — reminding her that there are more important things than even the Olympic Games.

“The importance of balance in one’s life is a lesson I have learned, and one that I hope will help me in college and beyond,” said Ledecky.

She is set to start at Stanford University this fall as a freshman after the Olympics wrap up.

So how does Ledecky prep for a competition of this magnitude? Prayer.

“I do say a prayer — or two — before any race. The ‘Hail Mary’ is a beautiful prayer and I find that it calms me,” she explained.

Despite her incredible success at such a young age, Ledecky remains grounded and focused on the competition. She is proud to be representing the United States on such an important international stage.

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“I have gained a great appreciation [for] what a remarkable privilege it is to represent the United States in the Olympics. I appreciate the flag being on my cap as I compete. That is a real honor,” she said.

Katie Ledecky is set to astound the world in Rio and her focus on faith and love of country truly makes her a role model worth looking up to. She competes later today in the 200-meter freestyle and then in the 800-meter freestyle on Thursday — both of which she’s favored to win.