Rowdy Gaines

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Throughout the 1980’s Rowdy Gaines was the fastest swimmer on the planet. His world records confirmed his place in swimming history. The Olympic Boycott of 1980 came during the peak of his career when he set world records in the 100 M and 200M freestyles, and Swimming World Magazine voted him World Swimmer of the Year. He was expected to win five Olympic gold medals in Moscow, but he was not able to realize that goal. After a brief retirement, the allure of competing proved too strong, and he returned to the pool, where the consummate technician resumed his attack on the record books. At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, no swimmer won more races than he did with his three gold medals in the 100M freestyle, the 4x100M freestyle, and medley relays. During his career, he broke a total of 14 World Records. In 1991, the swimming world was shocked to hear thatRowdy had contracted Guillan-Barre Syndrome, anautoimmune virus that attacks the nervous system. Completely paralyzed for over two weeks, Rowdy fought back, overcame the disease, and one year later went to the WorldMasters Championships and won the glamorous 50 and 100-meter freestyle events. Rowdy has been inducted intothe U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame andInternational Swimming Hall of Fame. He works with many organizations, including the USA Swimming Foundation, Swim AcrossAmerica, benefitting research for cancer, and the Special Olympics.


Today, he is the Vice President of Aquatics for the CentralFlorida YMCA as he talks to kids, mentors them, and spreads the message that championship comes not from the outside but from the inside and that dreams can come true if you believe in yourself.  Gaines is often referred to as “Swimming’s Greatest Ambassador.” Maybe life goes on without the Olympics, but not for the fastest swimmer on Earth. His determination to competein Los Angeles in 1984 and his stellar success mark RowdyGaines one of the world’s most dedicated, as well as ambitious, athletes and symbolize the American quest for more than gold. Known as the voice of swimming, he has worked with CBS, TNT, and ESPN as a regular announcer for swimming and other events. Rowdy has called the Olympic telecast on NBC for over two decades and will be in both Paris 2024 and LA 2028. Rowdy is a highly sought-after motivational speaker and shares his inspiring story of perseverance. He also offers amazing insight behind the scenes of the Olympic Games as a competitor and commentator.

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