Fina
19 December 2021

Giving back always in Anthony Ervin’s heart as Ex-Olympic Champion passes on his knowledge to UAE’s aspiring swimmers

Seventeen years after auctioning off his Olympic gold medal to help raise money for tsunami victims, former swimmer Anthony Ervin hopes his interaction with some of the UAE’s aspiring swimmers at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi can inspire them to fulfill their ambitions.

The 40-year-old was present alongside Germany’s Olympic Champion, Florian Wellbrock, for a unique training clinic at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena with the American sharing key tips and advice to the nation’s stars of tomorrow.

Giving back has always been Ervin’s motto, having auctioned off his Sydney Olympic 50m gold medal for $17,100 to help raise funds for those affected in the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated Sumatra, Indonesia.

In Abu Dhabi, he gave his energy and time to pass on his knowledge – an experience that he hopes would have a big impact on the kids’ development.

“They are so little and impressionable. As athletes we have been swimming for a long time so if I can pass off anything for them to enjoy and be thankful and express themselves in the water then I’ll be happy,” said Ervine, who made history at the 2016 Rio Games when he became the oldest Olympic gold medallist in the 50m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay at the age of 35.

He added: “The nice thing pursuing this Olympic or swimming journey at such a high level is that you can focus on yourself. I’ve had a lot of that now and I feel it’s time to give back to those who helped me so that is why I’m giving back to the kids.”

The American has been impressed by what he has seen so far – both in and outside the pool and believes the future of the sport is bright with the emergence of talented stars.

He said: “The hospitality here in Abu Dhabi has been incredible, the facilities are great and I love it. I’m totally on board with the concept of the Aquatics Festival and it’s been a thrill to see the high diving and the open water swimming all in one place, just like the Olympics.

 “My pedigree is in pool swimming, so I will be watching in the finals to see what happens. The world record by Siobhan Haughey was incredible and I have trained with her for a while before the pandemic hit. I knew how hungry she was to gain success and she won silver medals at the Olympics but still she wasn’t satisfied. So for her to execute and get a world record was special and her along with other many people that are coming up, I feel the sport is in a good place for the future.”

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