As Ledecky’s reign in the pool began, throwback photos and home video emerged showing years of determination and the many famous encounters she’s already had in her first 19 years. At 16 months, she appeared on Today as her mother introduced her to Al Roker. She met Michael Jordan, who she now eclipses in number of gold medals, at age 2 (and even hung out in the owner’s box). Most famously, Ledecky met swimming superstar Michael Phelps 10 years ago.
Now six medals into her Olympic swimming career (five of them gold), she’s now meeting one of her biggest fans—one who calls her “Stud.” USA Swimming posted the recreated throwback, only this time Phelps is getting Ledecky’s autograph.
Perhaps in the years to come, a future swimming superstar might point to a photo of meeting Ledecky as a motivational turning point.