SI Vault
Bruce Anderson
October 03, 1988
Janet Evans, thrice a winner, was an all-too-rare jubilant champion
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October 03, 1988

Of God And Glee

Janet Evans, thrice a winner, was an all-too-rare jubilant champion

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Evans is also exceedingly gregarious—and perhaps not quite aware of how big a stage she's now appearing on. But she no doubt lost some of her na�vet� last week when a story in l'Unita', the daily paper of the Italian Communist Party, reported that she had contracted AIDS while using heroin at age 14 and fights the disease "by swimming and winning." Mondo bizarro. Two days later the paper ran a retraction—sort of—in which the writer, Remo Musumeci, said that he had gotten carried away by the inspirational nature of his story and had no confirmation of what he had reported earlier.

The Italian "story" was particularly absurd because Evans exudes whole-someness. She is, as her father says, "peaches and cream," and she has a lot of Everygirl in her. She virtually lives on fast food, and her favorite groups are U2, Depeche Mode, Erasure and the Cure.

Evans is a senior at El Dorado, which means, appropriately, The Golden One. She has a 3.68 grade point average, dates the student body president and was the junior class princess at the junior-senior prom last spring on the same day she set national high school marks in the 200-yard IM and 500-yard free. She brought her schoolwork with her to Seoul. "I haven't started," she said with a giggle after winning her first gold.

On Monday Evans was scheduled to fly home to start her senior year. "It's been a great week," she said. "I've had a great time. But I've been away for two months. I'm really homesick."

Evans is going to take time off from swimming when she gets back to Placentia, but she won't be hanging up her suit. "I love to swim," she said. "I've been doing it for about 14 years now. I want to do it all over again. I don't think I'll have any problems getting motivated."

However, she also said she has other goals, other interests, such as playing the piano and getting into college. "When I'm away from swimming I don't want to talk about it," she said. "I want to be a regular school kid."

Like other high school kids, she wants a car. Unlike most, she's going to get one—a red BMW 325i convertible with a black top and leather interior. Her license plate will read: 3 GOLD 88.

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