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Katie Ledecky explains why she is passing up an estimated $5 million per year in endorsements

10 Southern Olympians Who Stole Our Hearts in Rio

Katie Ledecky proved to be one of the biggest stars of the 2016 Rio Olympics with her dominance in the pool.

While that type of performance, most athletes would be preparing to cash in on their newfound popularity. But for Ledecky, she has chosen to pass up the millions for now. Instead, she will enroll at Stanford and continue to compete as an amateur.

Ledecky was a guest on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" and explained that she simply wants the college experience. She was also asked if it was a difficult decision.

SEE ALSO: How this Olympic gold medalist is making a difference through cosmetics

"No it wasn't," said Ledecky. "I've always wanted to swim collegiately and have that experience. I think it is going to be a lot of fun to be on a team with some really great friends and great swimmers and also just go to class with them."

Ledecky delayed her enrollment for a year in order to concentrate on the Olympics. She is also going to part of a pretty impressive swim team that will also include Olympic medalists Simone Manuel and Lia Neal.

"I know we have a really great team and I am excited to get to Stanford and see what we can do," Ledecky said.

As for what Ledecky is passing up, it is a lot.

In an interview with Philip Hersh of ESPN.com prior to the Rio games, Olympic sports marketing expert Bob Dorfman estimated that Ledecky could make $5 million annually in endorsements with a strong performance in Rio.

"With a strong shot at four golds [she won 4 golds and 1 silver], Ledecky would be the aquatic darling of the Games and could command as much as $5 million annually in endorsement income by turning pro — especially given that at just age 19, she has the opportunity to win gold in two, or even three more Olympic games and could become the female Michael Phelps," Dorfman told Hersh. "Obviously the challenge is maintaining high visibility during non-Olympic years, but with her personality and likability, combined with the ever-growing influence of social media, the potential for longer-term deals is there."

There is still plenty of time for Ledecky. She will clearly be back in 2020 and will be ready to turn pro around the same time. Another strong performance there, as expected, and she will eventually cash in. But at 19, her earning potential may never be higher than it is right now, and still, she just wants to go be a college student.

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KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky of the United States celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's 200m Freestyle Final on day twelve of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 5, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky (L) of the United States celebrates winning the gold medal with bronze medallist Missy Franklin of the United States in the Women's 200m Freestyle Final on day twelve of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 5, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky of United States celebrates winning the final of the Women's 200m Freestyle during day twelve of The 16th FINA World Swimming Championships at Kazan Arena on August 05, 2015 in Kazan, Russia (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
US gold medallist Katie Ledecky (C), Italy's silver medallist Federica Pellegrini (R) and US bronze medallist Missy Franklin pose on the podium of the women's 200m freestyle swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on August 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Gold medallist Katie Ledecky of the United States sings the national anthem during the medal ceremony for the Women's 200m Freestyle Final on day twelve of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 5, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky of the United States adjusts her blocks prior to the Women's 200m Freestyle Final on day twelve of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 5, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
US gold medallist Katie Ledecky (C), Italy's silver medallist Federica Pellegrini (R) and US bronze medallist Missy Franklin pose on the podium of the women's 200m freestyle swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on August 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky of the United States adjusts her blocks prior to the Women's 200m Freestyle Final on day twelve of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 5, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
US gold medallist Katie Ledecky poses on the podium of the women's 200m freestyle swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on August 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky of the United States competes in the Women's 200m Freestyle Final on day twelve of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 5, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky of United States celebrates winning the final of the Women's 200m Freestyle during day twelve of The 16th FINA World Swimming Championships at Kazan Arena on August 05, 2015 in Kazan, Russia (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 05: Katie Ledecky of United States celebrates winning the final of the Women's 200m Freestyle during day twelve of The 16th FINA World Swimming Championships at Kazan Arena on August 05, 2015 in Kazan, Russia (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Katie Ledecky of the United States competes in the Women's 200m Freestyle semi finals on day eleven of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 4, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
USA's Katie Ledecky and USA's Missy Franklin (R) celebrate after the final of the women's 200m freestyle swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on August 5, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Katie Ledecky of the United States dives in for the Women's 200m Freestyle Semi-Finals on day eleven of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 4, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Katie Ledecky of the United States competes on the way to winning the gold medal in a new world record of 15.25:48 in the Women's 1500m Freestyle Final on day eleven of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 4, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PICTURE TAKEN WITH AN UNDERWATER CAMERA - USA's Katie Ledecky and Russia's Veronika Popova (R) compete in the semi-finals of the women's 200m freestyle swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on August 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Katie Ledecky of the United States smiles after the Women's 200m Freestyle Semi-Finals on day eleven of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 4, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Missy Franklin (L) of the United States celebrates with Katie Ledecky of the United States after the Women's 200m Freestyle Semi-Finals on day eleven of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 4, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
US Katie Ledecky, gold, poses during the podium ceremony of the women's 1500m freestyle swimming event at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan on August 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Katie Ledecky of the United States competes on the way to winning the gold medal in a new world record of 15.25:48 in the Women's 1500m Freestyle Final on day eleven of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 4, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
KAZAN, RUSSIA - AUGUST 04: Gold medallist Katie Ledecky of the United States poses with silver medallist Lauren Boyle of New Zealand and bronze medallist Boglarka Kapas of Hungary during the medal ceremony for the Women's 1500m Freestyle Final on day eleven of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on August 4, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Final - Women's 800m Freestyle Final - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 12/08/2016. Katie Ledecky (USA) of USA reacts after winning and setting a new world record. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Final - Women's 800m Freestyle Final - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 12/08/2016. Katie Ledecky (USA) of USA competes. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
USA's Katie Ledecky competes to break the world record in the Women's 800m Freestyle Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 12, 2016. / AFP / Martin BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
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