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Janet Evans
Personal information
Full name Janet Elizabeth Evans
Nickname(s) "Beth"
Nationality American
Date of birth August 28, 1971 (1971-08-28) (age 38)
Place of birth Fullerton, California, U.S.
Height 5'6" (167 cm)
Weight 119 lbs (54 kg)

Janet Elizabeth Evans (born August 28, 1971) is a former American competitive swimmer.

Biography

Born in Placentia, California, Evans started swimming competitively as a child. By the age of 11 she was setting National Age Group records in the longer events. She attended El Dorado High School and the University of Southern California.

Evans was distinctive for her unorthodox "windmill" stroke and her apparently inexhaustible cardiorespiratory reserves. Slight of build and short of stature, she more than once found herself competing and winning against bigger and stronger athletes, some of whom were subsequently found to have been using performance-enhancing drugs.

Janet Evans was the 1989 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

She was named the Female World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World magazine in 1987, 1989 and 1990.

Since her retirement from competitive swimming, Evans has been a motivational speaker and corporate spokesperson for companies such as AT&T, Speedo, Campbell's, PowerBar, John Hancock, Cadillac, and Xerox. In 2008, Evans competed on the NBC show Celebrity Circus.

Career

In 1987, she broke the world records in the 400-, 800-, and 1,500-meter freestyle events. At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, she won three gold medals and earned the nickname "Miss Perpetual Motion". In the games, she set a new world record in the 400-meter freestyle event; this record would hold for 18 years until Laure Manaudou broke it in May 2006. Until June 2007, Evans held the 1,500-meter freestyle record (set in March 1988) when it was broken by Kate Ziegler with a time of 15:42.54. Evans' world record of 8:16.22 in the 800-meter freestyle, set in August 1989, was broken in August 2008 at the Beijing Olympics by Rebecca Adlington of Great Britain with a time of 8:14.10. The 800-meter freestyle record was one of the longest standing ever in the sport of swimming, lasting through four Olympic Games. Only the 100-meter freestyle record of the Dutch swimmer Willy den Ouden stood longer (1936 - 1956).

Following her 1988 performance, Evans continued to dominate the American and world distance scene. She became the first woman ever to win back-to-back Olympic and World Championship titles in any event, taking the 1988 and 1992 Olympic titles and the 1991 and 1994 World titles in the 800-meter freestyle.

She won the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle at the U.S. National Championships 12 times each, the most national titles in one event by any swimmer in the 100-year history of the event.

Her career ended with the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. She did not win a medal, but she added one more highlight to her career, when she was given the honor of carrying the Olympic Torch at the Opening Ceremony, handing the torch to U.S. Olympic boxing legend Muhammad Ali to light the cauldron. In the pool, she finished ninth in the prelims of the 400-meter freestyle. She didn't qualify for the finals (nor the B finals), as only the top eight times advance. In the final swim of her career, Evans finished sixth in the 800-meter freestyle.

At the Atlanta Games, Evans outspokenly criticized Ireland's Michelle Smith on the latter's unexpected gold medals, suggesting that she might have been using performance enhancing drugs in the Olympics. Smith was not considered a favorite entering the Games, and her husband and coach Erik de Bruin had failed a drug test in 1993. Indeed, from 1996-97, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) raised concerns about Smith's repeated unavailability for random out-of-competition testing, and Smith received a four-year suspension in 1998 after being found guilty of tampering with a urine sample. However, Smith's medals and records from Atlanta were allowed to stand.

At the end of her career, she held seven world records, five Olympic medals (including four gold), and 45 U.S. national titles — second only to Tracy Caulkins.

External links

Records
Preceded by
Australia Tracey Wickham
Women's 800 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

July 27, 1987 – August 19, 1987
Succeeded by
East Germany Anke Möhring
Preceded by
East Germany Anke Möhring
Women's 800 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

March 22, 1988 – August 16, 2008
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Rebecca Adlington
Preceded by
United States Kim Linehan
Women's 1500 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

July 31, 1987 – June 17, 2007
Succeeded by
United States Kate Ziegler
Preceded by
Australia Tracey Wickham
Women's 400 metres freestyle
world record holder (long course)

December 20, 1987 – May 12, 2006
Succeeded by
France Laure Manaudou
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
East Germany Kristin Otto
World Swimmer of the Year
1987
Succeeded by
East Germany Kristin Otto
Preceded by
East Germany Kristin Otto
World Swimmer of the Year
1989 – 1990
Succeeded by
Hungary Krisztina Egerszegi
Preceded by
United States Mary T Meagher
World American Swimmer of the Year
1987 – 1991
Succeeded by
United States Summer Sanders
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