Katie Ledecky Thanks the Family Who Let Her Train in Their Pool During COVID as She Wins Another Gold

The California swimming great Tod Spieker allowed Team USA's Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel to train in his backyard pool

Katie Ledecky. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Katie Ledecky is giving credit where credit is due.

Ledecky, 24, defended her Olympic gold medal in the women's 800m free swimming event in Tokyo on Saturday with a time of 8:12.57.

At a press conference afterward, she told reporters including PEOPLE that part of her success at the Games — four total medals — was thanks to the generous family that allowed her to train at their home when COVID-19 shut down most facilities across the country in 2020.

Tod Spieker, a fixture of California's swimming community, and his wife, Cathy Spieker, allowed Ledecky and her teammate Simone Manuel to use their two-lane, 25-yard backyard pool in Atherton, California, when the pair were unable to swim at Stanford University.

Ledecky and Manuel spent six days a week there from March until June 2020, NBC Sports previously reported.

"They've been texting me and sending me videos and pictures of them [watching]," Ledecky said Saturday of the Spiekers, adding, "They're a big part of helping me get here and there are so many of those kinds of stories, I think, of people that had that kind of support over this past year."

"It's just such a great family and [I] really appreciate their support … they've been kind of like family to me," Ledecky continued, "and really a big part of my swimming career now."

Katie Ledecky
Katie Ledecky. AP Photo/Morry Gash

She also said that she was going to continue to "live in the moment" after another successful Games and was taking it "one day at a time" before focusing on Paris 2024 — where, she promised, she would work to compete.

"Twenty-four is not that old. People are sticking around in this sport into their 30s," Ledecky told reporters. "I still love this sport, I love it more and more every year … I'm going to give every ounce I have into this sport."

"I'm going to keep doing it until I feel like it's time," she said.

She even teased an appearance four more years after that, saying, "Obviously the Olympics in 2028 are in L.A. so that's kind of out there and appealing also — 2032 … at that point we're getting up there, we'll see. We each take it kind of one quad at a time and kind of look forward in that way. I've known for a while now that I'm going to at least 2024."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

Updated by Karen Mizoguchi
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