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Katie Ledecky on the Tokyo Olympics, endorsements and investing

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A backyard pool is probably the last place you’d expect to find five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky training for the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo, but that’s what the 23-year-old swimming sensation had to do last year when the pandemic forced all facilities to shut down.

“The first couple of months during the pandemic, I had to swim in an outdoor backyard pool, but I'm back in my normal training environment. I’m training really hard and working towards Tokyo,” Ledecky told Yahoo Finance Live.

Ledecky admits it wasn’t your typical backyard pool, but a neighbor’s two-lane, 25-yard pool in California. The 15-time world champion has since returned to her usual pool at Stanford University and is already stacking up wins ahead of her third Olympic Games.

Earlier this month, Ledecky won four races at the TYR Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, Texas: the 1,500-, 400-, 200- and 800-meter freestyle events.

The Tokyo Games will be her first as a pro-swimmer. According to Business Insider, Ledecky turned down $5 million in endorsement deals after medaling at the Rio Games in 2016 to attend Stanford and swim for her school’s team. She graduated last fall with a degree in psychology.

Ledecky stands to make some serious money as companies line up to work with her. She inked a $7 million deal with the sportswear company TYR, she’s a brand ambassador for Adidas (ADDYY) and counts Panasonic (PCRFY) and Visa (V) among her growing list of endorsements.

“I'm really committed to partnering with brands that I believe in, that I use their products, I like their products, and that are making a difference in the world,” Ledecky said.

As for investing that money, Ledecky said she’s “still building my philosophy. That's something that I work with my parents on as well. They've been great advisors to me through my professional career. And I know that as long as I'm being careful and smart with my money, I want to make sure that I am set for the future but also doing some good things and giving back where I can.”

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2016, file photo, United States' Katie Ledecky shows off her gold medal during the ceremony for the women's 200-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ledecky is turning pro. The five-time Olympic gold medalist announced on Twitter that she is giving up her final two years of eligibility at Stanford, though she will continue to train at the West Coast school as she works toward her degree. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)
In this Aug. 9, 2016, file photo, United States' Katie Ledecky shows off her gold medal during the ceremony for the women's 200-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ledecky is turning pro. The five-time Olympic gold medalist announced on Twitter that she is giving up her final two years of eligibility at Stanford, though she will continue to train at the West Coast school as she works toward her degree. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

In Tokyo, Ledecky will be looking to add more hardware to her already impressive medals collection after having won four golds and a silver at the Rio Games and a gold in London.

She’s already guaranteed to make history this summer, when female swimmers will compete in the 1,500-meter freestyle — a first at the Olympic Games.

“I'm really excited that I'll be able to compete in that for the first time at the Olympic stage,” she said.

While Ledecky declined to share her specific goals for the Tokyo Games, she said she’s looking forward to representing Team USA.

“When the Olympics were first postponed, I started thinking about how awesome it's going to be when the world can really come together again," she said. "Hopefully we're able to do that safely and successfully, and I think, hopefully, that will provide so much inspiration for the world.”

Alexis Christoforous is an anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.