1968 Olympian Eadie Wetzel Davis Living With ALS, Sons Release Emotional Tribute

September 25. THE Ice Bucket Challenge that became the biggest viral sensation of 2014 brought huge awareness – and a lot of money – to the crippling disease that is ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Today, the disease hit the swimming community hard with the release of a video that showed 1968 Olympian Eadie Wetzel Davis in a wheelchair incapacitated from the effects of ALS.

According to the information in the video posted by Wetzel Davis’ sons Whit and Casey Hansen, she was hit last year at 60 years old rather suddenly with symptoms later diagnosed as Frontotemporal Dementia, or FTD. The symptoms cause the person to lose significant brain function affecting speech and movement. Wetzel Davis’ prognosis was changed to full ALS shortly after.

Wetzel Davis was an alternate for the 1968 Olympic team after placing fourth in the 400 free and sixth in the 100, 200 and 800 freestyles at the Olympic Trials. Her biggest claim to fame was breaking the world record in the 200 free as a 15-year-old in August 1968 with a 2:08.80. That time was summarily smashed two weeks later at the Olympic Trials by Debbie Meyer’s 2:06.70.

3 comments

  1. avatar
    casey hansen

    Love that you shared our story. Cracks me up that you finished it with her record was smashed after two weeks. LOL. My wife and I just had one of the first good laughs we’ve had in awhile. Thank you again for helping bring awareness to this. This disease has robbed her and our family of so much. I guess the old saying “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And she have burned so very, very brightly..” is so very true of my mother.
    casey

  2. avatar
    Jeff Commings

    Casey,

    Your mother’s condition is heartbreaking, but we are sure you are surrounding her with a lot of light and a lot of love! Sending lots of positive strength her way!

  3. avatar

    Right on Casey. The article is great. Awareness is awareness, and a world record is a world record, even if was smashed. My 79 year old mom got her first hole in one on a par three course, and told me that it was only on a par three course. I told her “Hey mom, a hole in one is a hole in one.”