Evan Austin is a professional swimmer and member of Team USA.
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As a child living with familial spastic paraplegia, Evan Austin was bullied. In elementary and middle schools, the kid who is different can be an easy target.
“I spent a lot of time as a child really hating who I was physically,” Evan said. “But when my bully moved away in 7th grade, I just got to a spot where I decided I was done hating myself. That’s when everything changed.”
He discovered swimming – a place where his “bum legs” were weightless and his upper body strength made him extraordinary. By age 15, Evan was a professional swimmer and was chosen as the first alternate for Team USA, narrowly missing a trip to the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. That’s when his training became an obsession.
He would go on to earn 14 American records and medals in a variety of competitions like the CanAm Para Swimming Championships and the Pan Pacific Championships. He represented Team USA at the 2012 games in London and the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. Now age 24, he is a full-time resident at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, training for the 2020 games in Tokyo.
Evan graduated from Indiana State University in 2015 with a degree in Public Communications, but today his full-time job is swimming. His days are spent in the pool and the gym. He has access to the very best nutritionists, sports psychologists and coaches in the nation. He feels immensely lucky to be able to train like few other athletes are able.
His third decade is fully committed to one goal – being the absolute best athlete he can be. And while eventually winning a Paralympic medal in Tokyo would be fantastic – mostly as an achievement to honor his coaches and family who have given him so much – he says the medals aren’t his primary goal.
“I just want to be recognized as a really good swimmer – an elite level athlete,” he said. “And if I can help a kid living with a disability feel confident in his future by swimming well, then all of this is 100-percent worth it.”
How to Interact with Evan Austin:
Things We Mention In the Show:
The major international multi-sport event involving athletes with a range of disabilities.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
Official governing body of the Paralympic Games.
Ryan Lochte Scandal at the 2016 Rio Olympics
The Olympic swimmer found himself embroiled in an international scandal at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio.
U.S. Olympic Training Center
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Dragon Ball Z Games
1993 Disney movie – based on the true story of four Jamaican athletes going to extremes to compete as bobsled racers at the Winter Olympics.
South African Paralympic swimmer. Won the country’s first Paralympic medal in the 100m breaststroke.
The most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals in swimming.
TV Series, 2016-. A family with a child with special needs is good at dealing with the challenges it faces and excellent at creating new ones.
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