Retired American swimmer Anthony Ervin - who auctioned his Sydney Gold medal to raise funds for victims affected by the 2004 tsunami - was in and around the pool to coach and inspire the next generation of swimmers during the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships
Seventeen years after auctioning off his Olympic gold medal to help raise money for tsunami victims, retired swimmer Anthony Ervin hopes to put on coaching clinics when he's at events like the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Abu Dhabi can inspire the next generation of swimmers to fulfil their ambitions.
The 40-year-old was present alongside Germany’s Olympic Champion, Florian Wellbrock, for a unique training clinic at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena with the American sharing key tips and advice to the nation’s stars of tomorrow.
Giving back has always been Ervin’s motto, having auctioned off his Sydney Olympic 50m gold medal for $17,100 to help raise funds for those affected in the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean that devastated Sumatra, Indonesia.
During the short course world championships and FINA Aquatics Festival, he gave his energy and time to pass on his knowledge – an experience that he hopes would have a big impact on the kids’ development.
“They are so little and impressionable. As athletes, we have been swimming for a long time so if I can pass off anything for them to enjoy and be thankful and express themselves in the water then I’ll be happy,” said Ervin, who made history at the 2016 Rio Games when he became the oldest Olympic gold medallist in the 50m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle relay at the age of 35.
Ervin himself found inspiration in the 25m pool in Abu Dhabi, particularly by the stunning performances of the women -- none more so than the athlete named the best female swimmer of the world championships, Siobhan Haughey.
The world record by Siobhan Haughey was incredible and I have trained with her for a while before the pandemic hit. I knew how hungry she was to gain success and she won silver medals at the Olympics but still she wasn’t satisfied. So for her to execute and get a world record was special and her along with other many people that are coming up, I feel the sport is in a good place for the future.”