A Golden Girl
As it should be: our top video (as of mid-August) is Katie Ledecky’s homecoming at Dulles International Airport.
Ledecky, who hails from Bethesda, won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in London with her sensational 800 meter freestyle swim. She also broke the 23-year-old American record held by Janet Evans. Did we mention she was the youngest member of TEAM USA?
Today, she is a hometown hero in Montgomery County: a local, world champion.
If you watch the video you will see her Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart classmates and teachers greeting her at the airport with screams of delight and congratulatory hugs. She deserves it. We are all so proud of her. Who wouldn’t be? Despite the poise of a seasoned world champion, she is only 15 and she still has three years of high school left. Her mother said her success story plays like a Disney movie. It certainly does and who doesn’t like a happy ending?
But her story is not over yet.
Since arriving home, Ledecky has been busy outside of the pool as the demand to meet and interview her is great. She has appeared on the Today show and on several local television news shows. I can report that she is as nice as she looks. Even though she was tired and hungry, she smiled and posed with everyone who asked at the airport (including me) and signed autographs and modeled her gold medal around her neck for her fans and friends to admire.
Although she has no idea, Ledecky also helped launch my first “network appearance.” That’s because WRC sent its video of her homecoming at the airport to NBCand I just happened to be included in the footage. I was just as surprised as my friends and family to see the video (with me in it) the next morning on the Today show.
On Aug. 24, another celebration is planned in Bethesda for Katie and some other local athletes (Scott Parsons and Julie Zetlin) who competed at the Olympics too. The following week, there will be more Katie Ledecky celebrations as she heads back to high school where more of her classmates want to congratulate her.
So what’s next for Katie? She said she plans to set some new swimming goals but she will not be sharing them with the world. Instead, she said her new goals will be kept just between her and her coach. That sounds just like her — very smart. No matter what she does, we are all cheering for Katie. She’s won our hearts with that incredible gold medal swim and her winning attitude.