Meet Anthony Ervin: The most interesting man in swimming

Amber Matsumoto

Anthony Ervin, the oldest man to swim for the United States at the Olympics in more than a century, earned a gold medal in the Rio Games' 50-meter freestyle race Friday night. He is the oldest Olympic swimmer to ever win an individual event.

Ervin’s life isn’t your stereotypical Olympic story. In his 35 years, he’s done and seen more than most people do in a lifetime.

The United States' unlikeliest swimming gold medalist in Rio
The United States' unlikeliest swimming gold medalist in Rio
The United States' unlikeliest swimming gold medalist in Rio
<p>He auctioned off his Olympic gold, gave the proceeds to the UNICEF tsunami relief fund. </p>
Anthony Ervin

He auctioned off his Olympic gold, gave the proceeds to the UNICEF tsunami relief fund.

<p>He suffers from Tourette's syndrome. Ervin struggled for years, trying to find the right balance of medication to control his condition. </p>
Anthony Ervin

He suffers from Tourette's syndrome. Ervin struggled for years, trying to find the right balance of medication to control his condition.

<p>He played lead guitar in a heavy metal band called Weapons of Mass Destruction. </p>
Anthony Ervin

He played lead guitar in a heavy metal band called Weapons of Mass Destruction.

<p>He went to UC Berkeley and received an undergraduate degree in English. </p>
Anthony Ervin

He went to UC Berkeley and received an undergraduate degree in English.

<p>He is working on his masters degree in education at UC Berkeley. His thesis focuses on Muhammad Ali. </p>
Anthony Ervin

He is working on his masters degree in education at UC Berkeley. His thesis focuses on Muhammad Ali.

<p>He co-authored his own memoir. </p>
Anthony Ervin

He co-authored his own memoir.

<p>In his memoir he opens up about his wild life away from swimming. He opens up about his attempt at suicide using drugs. </p>
Anthony Ervin

In his memoir he opens up about his wild life away from swimming. He opens up about his attempt at suicide using drugs.

<p>He once rode his motorcycle 177 mph and was involved in a near-death accident when he collided with a Mustang during a police chase. </p>
Anthony Ervin

He once rode his motorcycle 177 mph and was involved in a near-death accident when he collided with a Mustang during a police chase.

<p>By winning medals in the 2000 and 2016 Olympics, he ties the record for longest gap between Olympic medals at 16 years. </p>
Anthony Ervin

By winning medals in the 2000 and 2016 Olympics, he ties the record for longest gap between Olympic medals at 16 years.

<p>Anthony is of Jewish, Native American, and African American decent. </p>
Anthony Ervin

Anthony is of Jewish, Native American, and African American decent.

<p>His parents got him into swimming at a young age to give him an outlet for his aggression. </p>
Anthony Ervin

His parents got him into swimming at a young age to give him an outlet for his aggression.

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