Amy Van Dyken is a 6-time Olympic gold medal champion swimmer who made history as the most successful athlete at the ’96 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia and the first American female athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympic games.
Van Dyken began swimming at age six in an effort to relieve childhood asthma, through which she developed a strong "will to win." That strength made her a star in the ‘96 Games, despite competing with about 65% of normal lung capacity.
In addition to her Olympic accomplishments, Van Dyken won several world titles and set numerous American and world records. Her success in swimming made her an instant celebrity and earned her awards and accolades, ranging from being featured on a Wheaties cereal box and in the Milk Industry’s popular Got Milk ad campaign, to being named the Associated Press "Female Athlete of the Year," ESPN "ESPY Female Athlete of the Year," and one of "25 Most Influential Females in Sport" by Women's Sports and Fitness magazine.
Since retiring from swimming in 2000, Van Dyken has been a disc jockey on a sports radio show, served as the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos football teams, and performed in the award-winning stage-play, The Vagina Monologues.
In 2014, Van Dyken was injured in an ATV accident and through grueling rehabilitation, she stayed positive and determined; just months later, she defied doctors’ expectations and achieved her goal when she walked again, with braces and a walker.
An encouraging symbol of strength and tenacity, and a role model for individuals with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating ordeals, Van Dyken will speak to the ICA about her experiences as a world-class athlete and developing a "will to win" and accomplish goals.