Janet Evans

Thousands of athletes have had the privilege to represent the United States in Olympic competition throughout the years, but only a handful becomes a legend. One such legend is Janet Evans. Never before, and never since, has USA Swimming seen a swimmer like Evans. Easily America’s best female distance swimmer in history, she was a member of the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Olympic teams, a remarkable feat considering how much younger her competition got every year. In those three Olympics, Evans would take home five medals.


Topics

Gold Medalist, Olympian, Sports/Athletics, Swimming


Full Bio


Thousands of athletes have had the privilege to represent the United States in Olympic competition throughout the years, but only a handful becomes a legend. One such legend is Janet Evans. Never before, and never since, has USA Swimming seen a swimmer like Evans. Easily America’s best female distance swimmer in history, she was a member of the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Olympic teams, a remarkable feat considering how much younger her competition got every year. In those three Olympics, Evans would take home five medals.

In 1988, Evans took gold in the 400m and 800m freestyle, as well as the 400m individual medley. In 1992, she would win her second gold in the 800m freestyle, and a silver in the 400m freestyle. In addition, Evans has won three World Championship gold medals, and a silver. Evans is also the winner of an extraordinary 45 U.S. National titles, as well as 21 international titles. To this day, she still holds six American swimming records in the 400m, 500m, 800m, 1000m, 1500m, and 1650m freestyle and World records in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle, making her the only female swimmer in history to hold three world records concurrently.

For her efforts in the pool, she has been justifiably recognized outside the pool. After her triple gold medal performance at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Evans was selected as the Sullivan Award Winner (an honor bestowed on the nation’s top amateur athlete), as well as being named the Sportswoman of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee. Evans was also named USA Swimming Swimmer of the Year in 1987 and 1988, and Swimming World magazine selected her as the American Swimmer of the Year each year from 1987 to 1990, and the World Swimmer of the Year four times (1987, ’89, ’90, and ’91).

Since her competitive swimming career ended, Evans has been an Assistant Swim Coach at her alma mater, USC, and has served as a television commentator for various swimming events worldwide (such as the NCAA Championships and the World Championships). She also has served as a guest host since 1997 on the television program "More Than A Game."

Her hometown of Fullerton, Calif. honored Evans by naming its public swimming pool the Janet Evans Swim Complex. Perhaps her most exciting out-of-the-water activity came in 1996 while she was still a member of the U.S. Olympic Team, when she was selected as the final Olympic Torch bearer at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.

A Southern Californian, including her collegiate days as a Trojan where she was a communications major, Evans continues to reside in the Los Angeles area but finds herself throughout the country on speaking engagements. Considering her incredible accomplishments and her great personality, the Associated Press noted, "There is something about certain champions that elevates them above all others, and it cannot be measured merely by medals won or times posted. The great ones, like Evans, all have that charismatic quality that lets us share in their exhilaration."

 

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