Jenny Thompson

Swimming – Competed in four Olympics earning 12 medals (8 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze) 1992 Barcelona, Spain – 1996 Atlanta, Georgia – 2000 Sydney, Australia – 2004 Athens, Greece

Jenny Thompson competes in a swimming event

Jenny Thompson was born on February 26, 1973. This young girl from New England would one day become one of the most decorated American athletes in Olympic history as a competitive swimmer. Jenny started swimming for Mike Parratto at the Seacoast Swimming Association in Dover when she was 12 years old. Before turning 13, she had already achieved a world ranking in the 50-meter freestyle and moved to Dover, NH, with her family. 

At age 14, she made her first appearance on the international scene at the Pan American Games, where she won a gold medal in the 50-meter freestyle and a bronze in the 100-meter freestyle. Dover celebrated her achievements with a parade and a key to the city. 

As a sophomore at Dover High School, she missed qualifying for the 1988 Seoul Olympic team by one place. She used that disappointment as motivation to not only make the 1992 team in Barcelona but also break a World Record in the 100-meter freestyle in the process. She competed and medaled in four Olympic Games (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004), ending with 12 medals. She specialized in relays and was known for her extremely strong anchor leg performances.  

Jenny graduated from Dover High School in 1991 and went on to college at Stanford University on an athletic scholarship. While at Stanford, Jenny would record 19 titles at the NCAA Championships. Her team won the NCAA Championship four years straight. After graduating from Stanford, Jenny pursued a medical degree, graduating from Columbia University in 2006. She completed training in Anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston with a fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. Although Dr. Jenny Thompson no longer swims competitively, she regularly volunteers for Swim Across America, which raises money for cancer research. She now lives in Charleston, SC, with her husband and two sons.

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