Motivational Monday: Katie Ledecky, 5-Time Olympic Gold Medalist

With more than 35 gold medal performances by Americans at the Rio Olympic Games, it’s hard to pinpoint one as the most inspirational. Over the last two weeks, we got to know some incredible athletes and witness some incredible athletic feats. Perhaps, none as motivational as Katie Ledecky’s 800-meter swim into the record books.

We are still in complete awe of Ledecky’s freestyle race, during which she broke her own world record by nearly two seconds, and beat every other swimmer in the pool by more than 11 seconds.


Image courtesy of USAToday

What’s the secret to Ledecky’s success?

Some will point to her “loping stroke” and fast reaction time off the block. Others will mention her core values and charitable upbringing. Ledecky describes her success in this 2015 interview with The Washington Post as stemming from her singular focus on achieving her goals. She was in eighth grade when she qualified for the London Olympic trials. Despite her youth and inexperience, she went into the trials expecting success. “I never visualized myself getting anything but gold,” Ledecky said.


Video courtesy of Zoeann Murphy and The Washington Post

In London, at just 15-years-old and the youngest member of Team USA, Ledecky made that goal a reality and won the 800-meter freestyle. She added four more Olympic gold medals at Rio. A nine-time world champion, Ledecky is the current women’s world-record holder in the 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle events.

Ledecky’s athleticism isn’t about pure, natural talent. It’s about hard work.

In the words of her coach, Bruce Gemmell, “There’s no magic bullet. She doesn’t have this incredible wingspan. She doesn’t have webbed feet. You look at Katie, just like with Michael [Phelps], and you realize the differentiator is between the ears. And their hearts. Their appetite for competition, their unwillingness to lose, and their embracing the challenge. And not just the challenge on competition day, which is a huge part, but the challenge of the training grind.”

So, if you’re looking for a little Monday Motivation to kick off the daily grind, look no further than U.S. Olympian and phenom in the pool, Katie Ledecky.