Katie Ledecky Insists She'll Compete in 2024 After 800m Triumph: 'Not My Last Swim'

After winning her third consecutive 800-meter freestyle Olympic gold medal, Swimming star Katie Ledecky has teased the prospect of further honors in upcoming games.

Ledecky, 24, won the event on Saturday with a time of 8:12.5, beating Ariarne Titmus by 1.26 seconds, the Australian who had bested her in the 400-meter freestyle earlier in the meet.

Having finished the Tokyo Olympics with two golds and two silver medals, Ledecky was asked by NBC how she would decide whether "this was the last swim."

"Oh, that was not my last swim. I'm at least going to '24, maybe '28," she replied, referring to the future games in Paris and Los Angeles.

"No, I just know it was going to be my last swim here," she added.

At a press conference afterwards, she told reporters, "Twenty-four is not that old. People are sticking around in this sport into their 30s."

Ledecky was only 15 when she took her first title in the 800-meter event at the 2012 London Games. She went on to win four golds in the Rio de Janeiro games four years later.

In the Tokyo games, her victory in the inaugural women's 1500-meter freestyle demonstrated a dominance which was illustrated by a picture widely shared on social media in which she had time enough to turn around and look at her nearest competitor, Erica Sullivan, win silver.

Her two victories in Tokyo mean that she has a total of seven gold medals, the most ever won by a swimmer at the Olympics. She is also one of only four swimmers to win three successive titles in the same event.

USA Today noted that her range from the 200 meter freestyle to the inaugural 1,500 meter freestyle meant that she swam 6,200 competitive meters in the meet, across all rounds.

This was nearly twice as many as the 3,300 meters that swimming legend Michael Phelps swam when he took eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Phelps is the only person to have won more gold medals in the pool than Ledecky has, having secured 13 in his career.

Ledecky previously described her unusual COVID-impacted preparation for this year's games. Tod Spieker, and his wife Cathy Spieker, prominent in California's swimming community, allowed her and her teammate Simone Manuel to use his 25-yard backyard pool in Atherton, California, when they could not swim at Stanford University.

NBC Sports had reported that the pair trained there six days a week between March and June 2020. "They're a big part of helping me get here," she said, according to People.

Katie Ledecky, US swimmer
U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky after winning the 800m Freestyle for women at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. She has said she intends to compete in at least two more games. Tim Clayton/Getty