Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky turning pro

Katie Ledecky has won five Olympic gold medals and holds three world records. Now, aged 21, she is turning professional.

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky is turning professional.

During the National Press Club luncheon on Monday in Washington, D.C., Ledecky announced she is forgoing her final two years of eligibility at Stanford ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

However, the 21-year-old, a 14-time world champion who holds freestyle world records over 400 metres, 800m and 1500m, will continue to study at Stanford, who she this month led to a second successive NCAA championship.

"I've had two really great years of college swimming, have been on an incredible team that's won back-to-back national championships," Ledecky said in an interview with The Washington Post.

"I feel like now is the right time for me to be making this transition and starting this next chapter.

"I feel like having two years in this stage will prepare me in the best way for 2020."