This photo of two swimming world champions– Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky– has gone viral. The photo, from the Ledeckey family, shows a 9-year-old Katie Ledeckey getting an autograph from her hero, Michael Phelps. Now, 10 years later, the two of them are representing Team USA together.
ESPN uploaded the photo with this caption: “Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. Two Maryland Natives. One has 20 Olympic golds. The other has never lost an individual race in a major international event.” It must be amazing for Phelps to see how he inspired his fellow swimmer and teammate, all those years ago.
It has to be amazing for Ledecky, as well, to see how far she has come.
Ledecky has quickly risen to household-name-status as a power house of this year’s Olympic Games. In 2012, Ledecky made her international debut at the Olympics in London where she was awarded her first gold medal for the 800m freestyle race. This year, Ledecky has won 4 gold medals and 1 silver for Team USA in Rio. Olympics aside, she has won 9 gold medals for World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona and Kazan (2013 and 2015).
At only 19 years old, Ledecky is still young, yet she’s come a long way since the little girl waiting for to meet her hero, Michael Phelps, in a pawn shop.
I wonder if that 9-year-old new that one day she’d meet Phelps again, but under very different circumstances? I wonder if she new that one day the world would call her “the next Michael Phelps.”
Somehow, I think that 9-year-old Katie Ledecky had that exact idea in mind.
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