Inge de Bruijn (NED)
Honor Swimmer (2009)
FOR THE RECORD: 1992 OLYMPIC GAMES: 8th (100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle); 2000 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly), silver (4x100m freestyle); 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES: gold (50m freestyle), silver (100m freestyle), bronze (100m butterfly, 4×100 freestyle); ELEVEN WORLD RECORDS: four (50m freestyle), two (100m freestyle), two (50m butterfly), two (100m butterfly); 2001 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50m, 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly); 2003 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: gold (50mfreestyle,50mbutterfly);1999WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (25m): gold (50m freestyle), silver (4x100m freestyle).
Inge de Bruijn is the most successful athlete of all time in Dutch sports history. In Olympic swimming history, she won four gold, two silver and two bronze medals in the sprint freestyle and butterfly events and joins Debbie Meyer (1968), Shane Gould (1972), Janet Evans (1988), Kristin Otto (1988) and Krisztina Egerszegi (1992) as the only female swimmers to win three gold medals in individual events at one Olympic Games (2000).
Although de Bruijn competed at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics finishing 8th in the 100m freestyle, it wasn’t until 1999 that she won the European Championships 50m freestyle gold medal and started setting world records eleven by the time she retired.
She fell into a slump during the Olympic year of 1996 and connected with Hall of Fame coach Paul Bergen in Portland, Oregon, training under his guidance. Four years later, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she won the 50m and 100m freestyles and the 100m butterfly, setting world records in all three events. With a silver medal in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay, her nickname became “Invincible Inky”. In 2000 and 2001, she was named World Female Swimmer of the Year. At the 2001 and 2003 World Championships, she won world records in the 50m and 100m freestyle and the 50m and 100m butterfly.
All totaled, she won eight Olympic medals, seven World Championship medals and 26 Dutch National Championships.