Gary Hall Jr. (USA)
Honor Swimmer (2013)
FOR THE RECORD: 1996 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (4x100m freestyle), bronze (100m freestyle); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle), bronze (4x100m freestyle); 1994 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley), silver (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle); 1998 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (100m freestyle), silver (4x100m medley); 1995 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: gold (4x100m freestyle); 2003 PAN AMERICAN GAMES: bronze (50m freestyle); 1995 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley); 1999 PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS: silver (50m freestyle); FIVE U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS: 1-50y freestyle, 1-100y freestyle, 2-50m freestyle, 1-100m freestyle.
As a two year old, his dad carried him on to the pool deck of the Montreal Olympic swim stadium. Five years later, he was in Fort Lauderdale to see his dad’s induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Gary Hall, Jr. learned to swim at age three, but didn’t start competitively until he was 16. He grew to be six feet six inches tall, weighing 218 pounds and became known not only for his pre-race antics but for being one of the world’s fastest swimmers.
His Olympic career began in 1996 with two gold medals in the 4×100 meter freestyle and medley relays and two individual silver medals in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle, only .13 seconds behind Russia’s Alexander Popov in the 50 and .07 seconds in the 100.
Then, in March of 1999, he was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Doctors initially told him that his Olympic career was over. However, after consulting with Dr. Anne Peters Harmel, he resumed training for the Sydney Games in a new way. In addition to checking his insulin levels up to ten times a day, Gary and his Dad started the Race Club, a club concept for elite athletes in 2002. Training under coach Mike Bottom during this time in Islamorada, Florida, Gary went on to tie for the individual gold medal in the 50 meter freestyle with fellow American Anthony Ervin. He also won a bronze in the 100 meter freestyle along with gold and silver medals in the relays.
Four years later at the age of 29, the oldest American Olympic swimmer since Duke Kahanamoku in 1924, he capped off his Olympic career in Athens by standing on top of the 50 meter freestyle podium alone as Olympic champion.
Gary has ten Olympic medals to his name and joins his father as the only father and son duo to each win Olympic medals in three Olympic Games.
Gary’s relaxed ability to accept challenges head-on and conquer them is what won him countless awards and fans. His fans were always on the edge of their seats to see how he would emerge and perform in his next race. By achieving his dreams despite health challenges, he has been a great inspiration to the millions of people living with diabetes and would personally return calls, no matter the hour.