Like, do I really have to tell you why?
Because Janet Evans is only the greatest American Olympic female swimmer of the past thirty years, thank you very much, having broken the world records in the 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1,500-meter freestyle distance events before she even got to her first Olympiad at Seoul in 1988. Despite the fact that other female swimmers have broken her records - and it took a pretty long time for that to happen - she remains the standard any female distance swimmer worth her salt should and must aspire to.
Okay, I admit, I had a crush on her back in the nineties . . . ;-)
But gee, can you blame me? :-D
When Janet Evans swam at the 1988 Olympics, she earned three gold medals - in the women's 400-meter freestyle race (breaking the very record she'd set the previous year!), the 800-meter freestyle race, and the 400-meter individual medley. She charmed everyone with her bubbly, chipper disposition; a born-and-bred California girl (from Placentia), she could have been the inspiration for a Beach Boys song. She swam the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle races at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, winning the silver in the former race and the gold in the latter. At Atlanta in 1996, her attempt to win one more gold medal in either race didn't work out so well - she won no medals at all - but she was still proud to have made a third Olympiad.
But here's what happened since I last featured her on this blog in August 2008 (I've waited far, far too long to feature her again!); she tried for a comeback for the 2012 Olympics in London, at the age of forty, but she didn't get past the trials.
Does that diminish her in my eyes? Absolutely not. True, she broke my heart when she got married :-D (she's a mom with two kids), but she will always be the grande dame of American distance swimming.
And like Michael Phelps on the men's side, it will be a long, long time before we see the likes of Janet Evans again.
And for you millennials who are too young to remember her, there are always her highlights on YouTube. :-)