Katie Ledecky Likely Face Of U.S Team For '20 Games After Going Pro
Gold Medal-winning U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky's decision to turn pro "could make her the highest profile American athlete" heading into the '20 Tokyo Games, according to Christine Brennan of USA TODAY. The timing of Ledecky's decision to forgo her final two seasons at Stanford "makes sense" from a business standpoint -- with the Pyeongchang Games "now behind us, the Olympic world pivots towards" Tokyo. That includes the "companies that sponsor the Games themselves." It is "hard to imagine a company that wouldn't want to be associated with Ledecky," who claimed four Golds and a Silver at the '16 Rio Games to go with a Gold she won four years earlier in London. Ledecky has "not yet announced who will represent her in future business and advertising dealings." She said, "We're still working through that. There will be a little more clarity in the next couple weeks" (USA TODAY, 3/27). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote Ledecky is the "most marketable swimmer in America not named Michael Phelps." By turning pro, Ledecky will be "allowed to tap into considerable endorsement and sponsorship opportunities." In the build-up to the '20, that "could mean millions" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/26). In N.Y., Karen Crouse notes Ledecky also now can "access her monthly USA Swimming training stipend." Ledecky is "heading down a path similar" to what Missy Franklin did in '15, when the Gold Medalist turned pro after two seasons at Cal (N.Y. TIMES, 3/27). In addition to focusing her attention on preparing for Tokyo, turning pro now means Ledecky will "no longer be constrained by NCAA rules dictating how much time she can spend in the pool" (SWIMSWAM.com, 3/26).