Arrow-right Camera

Janet Evans


Sibling rivalry had much to do with Janet Evans becoming an Olympic champion.

“I always wanted to beat my brothers, so I tried to be a really fast swimmer,” the three-time Olympian said. “They always picked on me and I always thought ‘I can beat you in the pool.’ It was just this really competitive situation.”

As a 16-year-old, Evans set three world records and won three golds in 1988 at Seoul. She returned to win a gold and a silver in 1992 at Barcelona and qualified this year in the 400- and 800-meter freestyles.

Evans’ path to international stardom began 20 years ago, when she would skip Brownies for practice. Evans was inspired by the perfection of gymnast Nadia Comaneci at Montreal in 1976.

“My mom says that in ‘76, when I was five, I watched Nadia win her gold medals and I carried a trading card of Nadia around because I wanted to be like Nadia.”