By Phillip Whitten
Three of America’s top Olympic hopefuls took a giant step toward the wedding chapel with their recent engagements.
Amy Van Dyken, who won four gold medals at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, announced her engagement recently to Tom Rouen of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Van Dyken, 26, who underwent shoulder surgery a year ago, currently ranks second in the world in the 50m free with a time of 25.13 behind the 24.84 of Holland’s Inge de Bruijn.
Gary Hall, Jr. finally popped the question to long-time girlfriend Elizabeth Peterson on September 23, and her answer was an emphatic yes! No date has been set for the wedding. Hall, 25, who won silver medals in the 50 and 100 m free in Atlanta and gold in the 400 free and medley relays, was diagnosed with diabetes in March. He staged a dramatic comeback at the U.S. Summer Nationals in August, winning the 50m free in a lifetime best 22.13, which ranks him sixth in the world this year.
University of Arizona teammates Denali Knapp and Roland Schoeman were also engaged recently. Knapp ranks seventh in the world, and second in the U.S. this year in both the 100 (1:01.85) and 200m backstroke (2:12.48). Schoeman, a South African, clocked 22.04 in the 50m free, not only the world’s fastest time this year but the fastest time since 1992.