Since capturing the world’s attention at the 2012 London Olympics by winning her first gold medal as a 15-year-old swimming prodigy, Katie Ledecky has always seemed to shine brightest when the spotlight is on her. Whether it’s her five gold medals, 14 world championship wins, or world records in multiple distances, Ledecky has used her winning smile to draw fans from around the globe to her sport. Currently a student-athlete at Stanford University, Ledecky’s successes in the pool makes her a natural partner for U.S. Embassy Tokyo’s “Go for Gold” program celebrating the two countries’ shared love of sports while promoting educational opportunities in the United States.
Our thanks to U.S. Olympic gold medalist @KatieLedecky for deepening US-#Japan cultural bonds & educational exchanges. While in #Tokyo for @PanPacs2018, she held a @SportsDiplomacy swimming clinic in Setagaya Ward, which will host #TeamUSA training camps for @Tokyo2020. pic.twitter.com/hrI89FBngN— Department of State (@StateDept) August 14, 2018
It was all smiles again this week when Ledecky held a swimming clinic for young Japanese swimmers at a pool in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, which has been designated “Home Town USA” for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Swimmers ranging in age from elementary to high school students cheered and listened to Ledecky give tips on technique, mental preparedness, and her dedication while growing up at the Nation’s Capital Swim Club near Washington, D.C. Ledecky’s engagement with youth leaders of the Setagaya Ward also helped deepen the strategically important U.S.-Japan relationship, joining an impressive list of talented American athletes as Sports Envoys to increase dialogue and cultural understanding between people around the world.
Great day for a swim clinic in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, the official host town for @teamusa in 2020! These kids were fast and fun! Thanks @usembassytokyo and @sportsdiplomacy for some great memories! pic.twitter.com/rfucgI53Bg— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) August 14, 2018
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Sports Diplomacy programs tap into the shared passion for sports around the world to address U.S. foreign policy priorities while also providing foreign and American participants and organizations the chance to learn and build ties with each other. These exchanges both strengthen people-to-people connections and open new doors for American businesses and non-profit institutions to engage with foreign audiences. Since its establishment in 2002, the Sports Diplomacy division has supported programs across the sports spectrum, including basketball, skateboarding, soccer, martial arts, and disability sports in over 100 countries.
Follow @SportsDiplomacy on Twitter to learn more.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.