SwimMAC Carolina’s Anthony Ervin just won the gold medal in the men’s 50-meter freestyle final – becoming the oldest swimmer in Olympic history to win gold at the age of 35 (his nickname on the U.S. swim team is ‘Gramps’).
He clocked in at 21.40 seconds, just 1/100th of a second faster than the silver medalist, Florent Manaudou of France.
As soon as he saw his name in the first place spot, he recalled feeling utterly shocked, “The absurdity, the surrealness of it all, I smiled and laughed, because it seemed so unlikely.”
It’s now been 16 years since Ervin won his first gold medal in Sydney’s 2000 Olympic Games, and so much has happened in his life since then. He overcame a suicide attempt, a period of homelessness and a stint in a rock band. He found and lost over a dozen jobs, drank too much and did a dizzying amount of drugs, suffering deep depression and confusion before his eventual wake up call.
Ervin started on a rigorous training routine starting in 2011 and miraculously made it on the U.S. Olympic team in 2012, although he didn’t win any medals that year.
3 and a half years after that, he moved to Charlotte to train with legendary with SwimMAC Carolina’s Team Elite, led by head coach David Marsh.
He moved back in with his parents in Fort Mill, the same home he lived in 16 years ago, prior before winning his first gold medal.
Ervin commented that he would always consider Charlotte to be his home, but isn’t quite sure if he wants to permanently settle quite yet.