The Hail Mary Is A Beautiful Prayer And I Find That It Calms Me – Olympic Gold Medalist

The Hail Mary Is A Beautiful Prayer And I Find That It Calms Me – Olympic Gold Medalist

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Katie Ledecky

In an interview last month with the Catholic Standard, swimmer Katie Ledecky revealed the Catholic Church has been incredibly influential in shaping her worldview, particularly as an Olympic champion.

“My Catholic faith is very important to me,” the 19-year-old remarked. “It always has been and it always will be. It is part of who I am and I feel comfortable practicing my faith. It helps me put things in perspective.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and nine-time world champion, who hails from Washington, D.C., explained how she incorporates the Faith into competitions. “I do say a prayer — or two — before any race,” she said. “The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer and I find that it calms me.”

The swimmer also credits the formation received at Catholic schools with much of her success.  “I received an excellent, faith-filled education,” notes Ledecky, who attended Catholic schools from pre-kindergarten through high school.

She continued:

Having the opportunity to attend academically rigorous schools has facilitated my interest in the world and in serving others, and has enriched my life so that it is not solely focused on my swimming and athletics. Nevertheless, going to these schools was important to my swimming — my Catholic schools challenged me, they broadened my perspective and they allowed me to use my mind in ways that take me beyond just thinking about swim practices, swim meets and sports.

Following her appearance in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Ledecky returned to Bethesda, Maryland to visit the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters, who had been responsible for her Catholic education. “I feel that I have very special people in my life and, because of that, I feel very fortunate,” she stated.

It was at the 2012 London games where then-15-year-old Ledecky made her debut, delivering the second-fastest performance in the 800-meter freestyle in Olympic history. She currently holds three world records, having previously broken 12 over the course of her career. The recipient of 17 medals, all but one gold, Ledecky became the youngest person to make Time magazine’s Time 100 list in 2016.

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