Janet Evans is widely considered to the be the greatest female distance swimmer in history. Despite her small size and unorthodox windmill stroke, she was a natural-born swimmer, completing laps by the age of two. In 1987, when she was 15 years old, Janet burst onto the international swimming scene, breaking world records in the 400m, 800m and the 1500m freestyle.
A year later at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Janet won gold medals in all three of her races: the 400 meter freestyle, 800 meter freestyle, and 400 meter Individual Medley, overtaking the powerful East German swimmers in the process. Her 400 freestyle victory was won in a world record time.
In 1992 in Barcelona, Janet defended her gold in the 800 freestyle and added a silver in the 400 freestyle.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Janet swam in both the 400 meter and 800 meter freestyle but failed to medal. The highlight of those Games came at the Opening Ceremonies, where she passed the Olympic Flame to Muhammad Ali. She retired from competitive swimming at the end of the Atlanta Games.
Janet broke a total of seven world records in three events (400 meter, 800 meter, and 1500 meter freestyle) during her career. Her 1500 meter world record stood for 20 years, her 800 world record stood for 21 years, and her 400 world record stood for 19 years, making them some of the longest standing records on the swmming books.
Janet was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001. In 1989, she was awarded the prestigious Sullivan Award as the United States’ top amateur athlete.
In 2010, Janet mounted a comeback in the sport with the goal of competing a the Olympic Trials in 2012 in the 400 meter and 800 meter freestyle. She successfully qualified for the Trials, and, at the age 40, had the recent honor of trying out for the Olympic Team in both events in July of 2012.
Out of the pool, Janet has made a name for herself as a commercial spokesperson, author, reality television personality, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. Her first book, “Janet Evans’ Total Swimming”, was published in 2007 and offers fitness programs, workouts, and proper swim techniques to readers. In 2008, Janet starred on NBC’s reality show Celebrity Circus. Her career as motivational speaker began at the age of sixteen and has turned her into one of the most requested keynotes in the country. Janet executes speeches for top companies in varying fields including: Technology, Healthcare, Real Estate, Telecommunications, Apparel, Banking, Insurance, non-profits and many others. With her easy style and grace on a podium, Janet has helped veteran salesman and senior executives alike.
Once again a retired athlete, Janet lives in Southern California with her husband Billy and their two young children, Sydney and Jake.
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