It is not every day that you get to meet an Olympic gold medalist. On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, YISS students and parents had the exclusive opportunity to meet and hear from swimmer Anthony Ervin. His message was inspiring as he shared about overcoming adversity, putting others and his team before himself even at the Olympics, and the importance of consistency in training.
Ervin’s story was fascinating as he struck gold for the first time as a teenager at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and became the youngest winner of the 50m freestyle in Olympic history. After his win in Sydney, Ervin retired from the sport and set off on a journey to find himself. During this time, he sold his gold medal to raise money to help victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Ervin believed his gold-medal victory in the water was a fitting way to help those who had lost their lives due to the power of water through a natural disaster.
In 2012, after being away from the sport for over a decade, Ervin resurfaced not only to make the U.S. Olympic team but to swim faster than ever before. He shared that the reason he started swimming again was because through teaching swim lessons, he rediscovered his love for swimming through witnessing the joy and playfulness of young swimmers. In the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, his comeback was complete as he won gold again, becoming the oldest male swimmer to win gold in an individual race. Once again, he earned the title of “fastest swimmer on the planet.”
After sharing his story and a doing little Q and A, Anthony went over to the YISS swimming pool and led a private practice for the high school swim team. This experience was invaluable as the students got a glimpse of the amount of focus and attention to detail that it takes to be a world-class swimmer. The advice Anthony shared is sure to benefit the YISS swim team and spur them on to a successful season and more.