Becoming an Olympian is an incredible achievement for any athlete, and qualifying for four Olympic Games is an extraordinary feat. After making her Olympic debut as a 15-year-old at the 2012 London Games, Katie Ledecky is now preparing for her fourth Olympic cycle. But this long journey had its twist of events, with one of them being her parents doubting if their daughter would qualify or not. Just before heading into the 2024 US Olympic Trials, Katie launched her book, Just Add Water: My Swimming Life.

While recalling all the major moments of her life, both personal and professional, she couldn’t ignore her first Olympics stint and what went behind it. While her parents backed their daughter and supported every dream of hers, at one moment, they had to be realistic to realize how big of a stage Olympics is. Hence, during her preparation for the London Olympic Trials, Katie’s parents, Mary Gen and David, had concerns about their daughter.

From one point of view, they were right too, considering not many teens get the chance to become Olympians. Recalling the moment, Katie penned down in her biography, that even though all the signs pointed toward her making it to London, her parents knew how tough it would be for their daughter to be one of the two swimmers to qualify for the Olympics. Hence, she said, “my parents stayed skeptical.”


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Moreover, as her daughter got ready for trials, Mary Gen had started calling it “Katie’s Olympics”, as if in Katie’s words, “she doubted there would be an actual Olympics afterward.” Even so, it did not mean that they didn’t believe in their daughter. As the days started building up to the Olympics, her parents bought tickets for the entire family. Not just ten or twenty, but sixty in total. Turns out, even if Mary and David thought their daughter might not make it to the Olympics, they knew their kid would still do her best. And that’s what she did.

How did Katie Ledecky’s first Olympics go?

Having broken the legendary swimmer Michael Phelps’ record, Katie Ledecky has already achieved the title of one of the best swimmers there can be. Not only had Katie qualified to represent America in the London Olympics, but she had left all 60 family members watching her live stunned.

However, that first swim in her first Olympics, 2012 in London, is something that Katie might never forget. While becoming an Olympian is a massive achievement in itself, Katie came back home with a gold medal in 800m freestyle, making the whole country proud of the “kid.” Little did the country know that that was just the start of the making of an icon, who would soon become one of the most decorated swimmers of all time.