12-TIME OLYMPIC MEDALIST (8 GOLD)  •  MEDALED AT 4 OLYMPICS (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)  •  26-TIME U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPION  •  2000 WOMEN'S SPORTS FOUNDATION'S SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR  •  1999 USOC SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR  •  1999 USA SWIMMING PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR (100M FLY, WORLD RECORD)  •  2-TIME USA SWIMMING SWIMMER OF THE YEAR (1993, 1998)  •  FORMER WORLD RECORD-HOLDER  •  U.S. NATIONAL TEAM MEMBER FOR 17 YEARS (RETIRED 2004)  •  LED STANFORD TO 4-STRAIGHT NCAA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES
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Jenny Thompson

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Personal Info

Born On:  February 26, 1973
Hometown:  Dover, New Hampshire
Resides:  Kennebunk, Maine
Education:  Stanford (B.A. Human Biology, 1995), Columbia Medical School (MD, 2006)

Biography

“The Olympics will always be a part of me”

Michael Phelps is the only American in Olympic swimming history that can beat Jenny Thompson’s medal haul. She is also one of the greatest clutch relay swimmers in history with eight gold medals to her credit and one of USA Swimming’s most respected team leaders, having contributed at four Olympics (1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004).??

Now, Thompson is an anesthesiologist and resides in Portland, Maine with her husband Dan Cumpelik, whom she married in 2010. She admits that water is still in her blood and she can be found swimming at her local YMCA from time to time. In 2008 and 2012, Thompson made the trip to Beijing and London to cheer on Team USA. “I would love to be able to go to the Olympics forever, because it was such an important part of my life," she told ESPN.

Looking back on her career, Thompson’s legendary ability to outperform her competitors on relays made her a “go to” anchor for US Olympic coaches - even when Thompson was not at her best. A favorite going into the 1996 Olympic Trials, Thompson failed to make the team in any individual events after suffering from insomnia. But in Atlanta, she anchored both the 400 and 800 freestyle relays to gold medals.

After leading the 2000 Olympic team to three more relay golds in Sydney and winning her second individual silver in the 100 freestyle, Thompson thought she was ready to retire and begin medical school. After a decade in the Bay Area, she moved back east in 2001 and enrolled at New York’s Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. But her mother’s cancer battle and the terrorist attacks of September 11 soon drove her back into the water. “Swimming has been sort of a safe place for me and it’s really helped me get through hard times,” she told the Associated Press in 2004.

It was also a venue through which she could help others in a time of national tragedy. In 2004 at the age of 31, Thompson qualified for her fourth Olympic team and won silvers in two relays and reached the finals in both of her individual races. After graduating from Columbia Medical School in 2006, Thompson has focused on giving back to others and on keeping busy with her two year old son, Benji. “As an Olympic swimmer it is a fairly selfish endeavor and you have so many people helping you along the way. As a doctor I am able to give back and help others in a very important way.”

As a speaker, Jenny Thompson motivates audiences and emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with great teammates when you are trying to achieve your goals. “I do the best that I can for my patients every day and that is something I learned from swimming - I was always trying to improve.”