PORTLAND, Oregon, January 18. AMERICAN Janet Evans (40), one of the greatest distance swimmers of all-time, has signed an endorsement agreement with one of the world's leading swim brands, Arena. The new relationship coincides with Evans' return to competition in anticipation of the 2012 London Olympics.
After hanging up her competitive swimsuit in 1996, Evans established herself as a commercial spokesperson, author, reality television personality and highly sought-after speaker. Her immediate comeback goal is to qualify for the Summer Games in London, and this past weekend in Austin, Texas, Evans came two steps closer to competing across the pond by qualifying for the Olympic trials in the 400 and 800-meter freestyle events. The 2012 Olympic trials will be held this June in Omaha, Nebraska, with the Olympics to follow in July.
"I'm excited about this new chapter in my life," said Evans. "It feels good to be back training hard and competing in the sport I love. I've received an outpouring of support and having a great team such as Arena's backing me up simply gives me more motivation."
Over a career that spanned the Seoul (1988), Barcelona (1992) and Atlanta (1996) Olympics, Evans won four Olympic gold medals and was the first female to win back-to-back Olympic and world titles (800m: 1988 and 1992 Olympics, 1991 and 1994 World Championships). The world records she held in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events were among the longest-standing in the sport's history – the 400m record stood for 18 years (1988-2006), the 800m for 19 years (1989-2008) and the 1500m also stood for 19 years (1988-2007). Evans went undefeated for eight years in the 800m and 1500m freestyle events.
"Janet's strong sense of character and passion for swimming, combined with her core values, are the reasons why we believe she makes the ideal spokesperson and athlete for our brand," said Tim McCool, vice president of Arena North America.
In addition to receiving support with her training regimen and competitive participation, Evans will act as ambassador for both Arena and the American Swimming Coaches Association's SwimAmerica program, which Arena also sponsors. SwimAmerica is a national learn to swim program operated by the American Swimming Coaches Association through over 500 program directors at over 900 pools across the United States.
In addition, Evans will join several other leading American swimmers as part of the Arena Elite Team, including Olympic and world champion breaststroker Rebecca Soni, recently retired Olympic and world champion backstroker Aaron Peirsol and Olympic breaststroker and cancer survivor Eric Shanteau.
"Janet will always be synonymous with swimming in the hearts and minds of American swim enthusiasts," said McCool. "Regardless of the sport or gender, there are few athletes who can transcend generations – Janet is one of these select few."
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