Olympic Celebrity Speaker Amy Van Dyken didn’t expect to exceed in swimming even though it was something she liked since childhood. She suffered from severe asthma and swimming was one of the best ways of relieving it. Following the doctor’s advice, Van Dyken began swimming. She didn’t compete competitively until high school. In 1991, she became the team captain and led her team to a state title. She was named the NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year in 1994. After college, she joined the United States Olympic Training Center to train full-time for the 1996 Olympics.
When she won four gold medals in the 1996 Olympic Games, Van Dyken became the first American female athlete to accomplish such a feat. At the 2000 Olympic Games, she won two gold medals, bringing her count to six gold medals. She won numerous accolades, including the ESPN’s ESPY Female Athlete of the Year, Swimming World magazine’s female Swimmer of the Year, USOC Sports Woman of the Year, Women’s Sports Foundation Sports Woman of the Year, and USA Swimming Swimmer of the Year. She was also inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and the US Olympic Hall of Fame and named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. She also received the ARETE Courage in Sports award. In 2007, she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, making her the only American ever to be inducted yet.
Amy Van Dyken does more than just swimming. She also serves as a FOX Sports analyst interviewing some of the most elite athletes and helps out charities and non-profit events. She and her husband, NFL punter Tom Rouen, participated in an event to benefit Colorado Youth Outdoors, a charity that takes families to the great outdoors of Colorado. Van Dyken and her dog, Georgia, are the US representatives of Paws with a Cause (PAWS), a non-profit organization that trains and assists hearing and seizure dogs. She is keen with continuing her role as the National Spokesperson for PAWS.
In June, 2014 Amy’s life changed forever as she was severely injured in an ATV crash. The life threatening injury severed her vertebra and almost ruptured her aorta. After several operations, Van Dyken was paralyzed from the waste down but still managed to keep her spirits up, inspiring millions of Americans.