Katie Ledecky

50 Most Marketable 2016 - Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky


Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.

  • Value for money
  • Age
  • Home market
  • Charisma
  • Willingness to be marketed
  • Crossover appeal

American, 19, Swimming             

America’s newest queen of the swimming pool

Representatives: N/A

Key partners: N/A

2015 ranking: New entry


The heir apparent to Missy Franklin, or the Ryan Lochte to Franklin’s Michael Phelps?

Katie Ledecky first came to prominence as a 15-year-old, when she unexpectedly won the 800m freestyle final at the 2012 Olympic Games. London was, however, the tip of a garlanded iceberg and since then Ledecky has won an extraordinary nine world championship gold medals as well as six Pan-Pacific Championship titles – all of her international medals to date have been gold.  

Ledecky, now 19, is the holder of the top eight women’s 800m freestyle performances in history, and has posted times fast enough to qualify for men’s competition in some events at the 2016 Olympics. She has deferred her enrolment to the prestigious Stanford University in order to train for Rio. Still, like her Team USA colleague Franklin, Ledecky’s education and desire to represent her school has meant that she must remain an amateur – a decision that has forced her to forego ‘around US$3 million to US$5 million in endorsement opportunities’, according to SportsBusiness Daily.

A swimmer’s commercial cycle is dictated by the Olympics and 20-year-old Franklin, who has now left Berkley to turn professional, will likely profit as a consequence of Ledecky’s continued amateur status. Nevertheless, if Ledecky’s potential is turned into more Olympic gold she can fully expect her share as she follows her illustrious compatriot on the professional path to the 2020 Games. GD

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