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Buck Dawson Authors Award

Anthony Ervin (USA)

2018 Buck Dawson Authors Award


Chasing Water: Elegy of An Olympian


Anthony Ervin is a four-time Olympic medalist, claiming the title of fastest person on the planet, both in 2000, as well as 16 years later by claiming the Olympic title in the 50m freestyle again at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.


After winning the Olympic gold, two World Championships and seven NCAA titles, Anthony retired at the age of 22 in 2003. Ervin then spent several years traveling the world and exploring other interests, including his higher education, music, tattoos, teaching people all over the world about swimming, and tsunami flood relief. His vision is to use his experiences and his platform as a chance to give back and inspire people of all ages to live the life they love. His return to the swimming world quickly caught the attention of major media outlets, including “Sports Illustrated”, “Rolling Stone”, “The Guardian”, “The New York Times” and “CNN”.


In December 2011, in his first USA swim meet in seven years, he won gold at the Chesapeake Pro-Am and immediately put himself back in the U.S. top five. Anthony participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials and was selected to represent the USA once again at the London Olympic Games in the 50m freestyle event. Following the Olympics, Anthony swam to 16 medals on the World Cup circuit, nine of them being gold, and an American record in the 50m freestyle. In 2014, Ervin gained his U.S. National title in the 50m freestyle, snagging a silver medal at that year’s Pan Pacific Championships in Australia. His return at age 30, brings a renewed outlook of enjoying the journey and appreciating the moment.


Anthony’s memoir, Chasing Water: Elegy of An Olympian, was co-authored with Constantine Markides and released via Akashic in 2016.


Anthony’s story is especially unique in that his family tree represents a broad demographic of Jewish and African-American descent, truly embodying the diversity of our modern world. Over the years, Anthony has grown to embrace his place in the world as an opportunity to reach out and try to give back. He auctioned off his 2000 Olympic gold medal on eBay and donated the proceeds to tsunami relief in Southeast Asia.


At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Ervin “wrote” the most fitting afterward to his astonishing story by winning two gold medals, becoming the oldest swimmer (from any nation) to win a gold medal in an individual race, and in finishing first in the 50m freestyle once again earning the title of fastest human in the water.

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