No one expected Katie Ledecky to dominate the competition at the Olympics in Rio like the American swimming star has this week.
No one, that is, except Ledecky and her coach Bruce Gemmell, who planned the 19-year-old’s rise to super-stardom three years prior.
As a then-16-year-old coming off her first Olympics in London, Ledecky already knew what was in store for her at Rio 2016, down to the final stroke after she made it five medals – four of them gold – at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Friday.
“The goal was 8:05 or better [in the 800 meter freestyle] so I hit all my goals right on the nose this week and I think that’s just a testament to the vision that Bruce Gemmell and I had three years ago,” Ledecky. “We set those goals and we weren’t going to stop until we met them.”
Ledecky, who owns the top 13 times in history of the women’s 800m freestyle after winning gold in a world-record time of 8:04.79 on Friday, was only trying for a best time in her final swim in Rio.
“Just want to go and lay it all out there. It was my last one here,” she said. “The Olympics are the pinnacle of our sport and after you have to wait another four years to have that moment and I just wanted to enjoy it all and put my very best swim out there.”
While Ledecky plans to get even faster for Tokyo in 2020 after spending her collegiate years training at Stanford, she is still living in the moment that delivered five Olympic medals.
“I’m just so happy. I’ve had a lot of fun this week, not only in the pool but with my teammates and the memories mean more than the medals to me here,” she said.
“I’m just so proud of my teammates and what we’ve all accomplished this last week.”