In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the world witnessed Anthony Ervin, an American professional swimmer earn the gold medal in the swimming competition. But despite his achievements, Ervin battled several personal issues. What happened to Ervin after the Olympics?
Anthony Ervin retired from swimming at the age of 22. He began abusing drugs and struggled with life. He got back to swimming in 2011 and by the 2016 Olympics, he became the oldest swimmer to win a gold medal.
The Rise And Fall of Anthony Ervin’s Career
Anthony Ervin was a typical Californian kid. At the age of 19, was already standing out in the world of swimming. This early-career set-off has laid a record-setting accomplishment of 21.21sec in the 50-meter at the NCAA Championships. On top of that, alongside his fellow American swimmer Gary Hall Jr., that same year of summer in Sydney, he bagged his prestigious Gold medal in the 50-meter in a dead heat.
Consequently, after his standout performance at that summer game, he was nowhere. Later on, news came off that he suffered from a mental breakdown leading to abusing drugs.
The oppression of my former swimming identity loses its hold on me; I am no longer Anthony Ervin the Swimmer, but Tony, just another guy in a band.Anthony Ervin
His mother was devastated to hear about what had happened to her son.
I don’t think Anthony realized just what he sacrificed. I don’t think he understands it even now.Sherry Ervin
Nearing the age of 30, he hit rock bottom by drowning deeply in using painkillers and other drugs. The constant drug abuse led him to an almost-coma state. A friend of Ervin even explained that it came to a point where he could no longer stand up from the couch. (Source: People)
Anthony Ervin’s Reluctant Come Back to the Sport
Over time, Ervin then made the decision to get his life back on track. His first step was to re-enroll as an undergraduate at Cal Berkeley. He pursued the matter of literature and developed a growing interest in medieval texts.
Towards 2011, he made his wisest choice and decided to go back to the swimming scene. Announcing at the height of these life changes, he decisively opted to train and be a part of the swimming team again that will compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
With all the comebacks and positive efforts, Ervin, at the age of 35, did well by having an impressive fifth place in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle in London, beating his personal-best time.
He can make changes, both in his life and in the water, that makes him special.Coach Mike Bottom
Ervin became the oldest man to ever win an individual Olympic gold medal in swimming, and he is also the only swimmer to win gold medals in the same sporting event 16 years apart.
More than anything the perspective changes—it’s not just me up here. 37 strokes, it took an enormous amount of people that loved me, wanted to see me succeed and be happy through it. Thinking of all the friends and family that supported me through all the highs and lows, that’s what got me here.Anthony Ervin
(Source: Swimming World Magazine)