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Katie Ledecky on STEM and training for the Olympics in her living room

Katie Ledecky is a five-time Olympic gold medal swimmer who is busy preparing for the upcoming summer games in Tokyo. She’s also teaming up with Panasonic to share her passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. During this past year’s lockdown, Ledecky earned her psychology degree from Stanford University. Ariana Escalante and Andre Stone, hosts of Digital Trends’ CES 2021 coverage, spoke with Ledecky at the Digital Trends CES Experience Center.

“I finished up my degree in November, just before Thanksgiving,” Ledecky says. “I took classes from March to November, so the last couple months of my undergrad career were online, which was very different, but I adapted pretty quickly.”

As part of Team Panasonic, she’s been inspiring the next generation of STEM students and their pursuit of science. “If you look at the fastest-growing careers in the country, about 80% of them require STEM skills,” she says. “I’ve been really happy to partner with Panasonic to work on a program to reach out to young students.”

Sports technology is a major focus of this year’s CES, and Ledecky points out the importance of STEM and technology to sports. “I think any athlete is always trying to improve,” Ledecky says. “We’re always trying to learn as much as we can, and one way to do that is through technology.” For example, many swimmers and other athletes use video review technology, gather statistics about their technique, and find other ways to improve their game through cutting-edge technology.

But how does one train for swimming during a quarantine? Ledecky has a technological answer for that too: By sharing her workout routines from her home via her Instagram page.

“I was doing my dry-land training in my apartment, and I just tried to stay active,” she says about sharing her training routine with her fans. She also keeps in touch with her teammates and other athletes during quarantine, keeping that team bond alive even while they’re apart. “I’ve just been trying to keep in touch with them, and keep them encouraged. I just try to stay upbeat and keep moving forward,” she says.

Ledecky is looking forward to what’s next, both in her career as well as in technology. “It’s always so fun to see what new ways we’re able to connect with each other,” she says. “But of course, I’d love to go back to the old trend of seeing someone in person,” she sys with a laugh.

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