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article imageMeet Brendan Hansen: Six-time Olympic medalist, breaststroke king Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jun 19, 2019 in Sports
On June 19, six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Brendan Hansen chatted with Digital Journal about his athletic career and his latest endeavors.
In his competitive swimming career, Hansen won six Olympic medals, three of which were gold, one silver, and two bronze. He specialized in the breaststroke and was the former world record holder of the men's 100 meter and 200 meter breaststroke. "Winning the Olympic medals was something that I had always set out to do," he admitted.
Most impressive about Hansen is that he never lost a swimming race in college.
"I have been retired for seven years and I look back at it and my perspective is now different. It was pretty awesome, to say the least, and now I appreciate it more," he said.
For Hansen, hearing the U.S. national anthem played in his honor was yet another thing that he always dreamed about. "You train hard and you are sacrificing so much of your life to chase that dream. What gets you going and keeps you going is that it can potentially happen someday and when it does happen, it is surreal," he said. "At the moment, it was very surreal. I wish the anthem lasted a little longer than it did," he said with a sweet laugh.
He acknowledged that in his competitive swimming days he was motivated by all the people and naysayers that doubted his abilities. "I had a lot of people laugh after what I was trying to go after," he said. "I never let that negative energy get to me, and I switched it to positive energy. I never lost sight of the intensity aspect of my workouts."
Hansen had nothing but the greatest remarks about being a part of fellow Olympic medalist Josh Davis' Breakout Swim Clinic. "It makes you want to inspire the next generation to do swimming. The greatest outlet that I had as a professional athlete was the Breakout Swim Clinic. We would go to all of these towns, meet these kids, and tell our stories," he said.
"What these swim clinics do is that they put high-level athletes in front of kids that are developing and it makes them realize that we are just normal people that worked really hard," he said. "It humanizes the Olympian to the point that it makes kids see that it's an attainable goal."
On being a swimmer in this digital age, he said, "There are so many more outlets for athletes now to become successful. It's important that they focus on improvement. The utilization of digital technology such as stroke and video analysis is so crucial to them being successful. It strengthens the culture of USA Swimming. We are always going to strive to be better. Technology has helped the sport substantially."
His advice for young and aspiring swimmers is to have "patience." "That's the No. 1 thing you have to learn," he said. "I feel so strongly that I did not become an Olympian overnight, and none of my Olympic teammates didn't either. You need to respect the process and you have to continue to learn. You cannot be afraid to fail in this sport. That goes for practice and competition. When you fail you learn how to get faster. I wanted to be the best and I wanted to continue to be successful and I wanted to be No. 1 for a long period of time."
Last summer, Hansen offered swimmer Michael Andrew (when he was a teen at the time) insightful advice on how to improve his breaststroke and his tips wound up working in Andrew's favor. "He won that breaststroke race that night and realized that I wasn't kidding," he said. "I reminded him that I was at least 400 breaststrokes ahead of him," he said with a chuckle.
"Michael is doing really good. He is grounded, and his parents did a great job," he added
The breaststroke king defined the word success as something that can never be attainable. "Success is growth and it's you pushing the boundaries and what people think is normal. That's what I try to do in the sport of swimming. It's about how you handle failure since you have to fail to become successful. My role model is me in 10 years," he said.
More about Brendan Hansen, Olympic, Swimmer, medalist, breaststroke
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