Katie Ledecky is the most accomplished female swimmer in history, her Olympic success thanks in no small part to her dedication to the sport, competitiveness and focus.
In a video from 2000 that Ledecky shared on Twitter, that focus comes out in a much different way.
The video shows Ledecky sitting in a luxury box a row below Michael Jordan; not even the legendary basketball player, trying to play a game of peek-a-boo with the future Olympian, was going to stop her from eating her popcorn.
The tweet is from 2020, but Ledecky’s Olympic spotlight has brought it back to the surface. It’s not every day you see the greatest women’s swimmer of all time sharing a moment with basketball’s greatest player.
Ledecky has been immersed in the sports world since her youth: Her uncle, Jon Ledecky, was a part owner of the Capitals in the early 2000s. He traveled to a Wizards game with business Lincoln Holdings partner Ted Leonsis, bringing a then-2-year-old Katie to the game where Jordan was announced as a part owner (according to a report from ESPN).
Leonsis added that the 2-year-old Ledecky wasn’t exactly thrilled to be in the box with Jordan and the rest of the businessmen.
“I wish I could tell you in that picture we said, ‘This is the greatest future amateur athlete on the planet,'” Leonsis told NHL.com. “But I will tell you in that photo, she was nonplussed being around all of the commotion.”
Jon Ledecky is now the co-owner of the Islanders, and has become endeared by New York fans. But Katie, a native of Washington, D.C., has kept up with the Capitals and Wizards, with Leonsis saying she has been to a number of NHL games.
“She probably came to 100 events and games and got to know players and got to know the coaches and just kind of grew up around athletes and ownership,” Leonsis told NHL.com. “And we watched her blossom into this incredible young woman.”
Twenty-one years later, the focus and determination Ledecky showed against Jordan has clearly paid off. She sits at five Olympic gold medals to Jordan’s two, and she has the chance to add a few more before the 2021 Tokyo Games are over.