At 6'0” and 145 pounds, Amy Van Dyken is one of the world's great freestyle and butterfly sprinters who held the World Record in the 50 meter butterfly (short course).
Van Dyken set the world on fire when she qualified in five events for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and won an unpredicted four gold medals in the 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter butterfly, 4x100 meter freestyle relay, and 4x100 meter butterfly relay. It was the most ever won by an American woman at one Olympic Games and a feat achieved only two other times in women's Olympic swimming history.
An asthmatic since childhood limiting her to about 65% of normal lung capacity, Van Dyken was advised by her doctors to take up swimming. A slow starter, it took her a few years to finish one length of the pool. But after winning a race, she was hooked.
As she matured, she became a Spartan, no-nonsense competitor who tried to psych out her opponents with pre-race claps, growls and stares. After her stellar Atlanta Olympic performance, she won three gold medals at the 1998 Perth World Championship and another two more Olympic gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Games as a member of the 4x100 meter freestyle relay and 4x100 meter medley relay, giving her a total of six career Olympic gold medals.
Van Dyken competed in the 1995 Pan American and Pan Pacific Games, winning four gold and three silver medals in freestyle and butterfly events. She was the NCAA Female Swimmer of the Year at Colorado State University in 1994 and then trained with U.S. National Team coach Jonty Skinner.
She was the USOC Female Athlete of the Year and the Associated Press Worldwide Female Athlete of the Year in 1996. She is seen on the Wheaties cereal box, Got Milk ads, and TV and radio programming along with her husband Tom Rouen, a retired NFL punter whowon two Super Bowl rings with the Denver Broncos.