Despite her blond hair, blue eyed, light skinned exterior, Olympic Swimmer and Gold Medalist Natalie is actually ¼ Filipino and proud of it!
At the 2008 Olympics, she became the first American female athlete in modern Olympic history to win six medals in one Olympics and the first woman ever to win a 100 m backstroke gold in two consecutive Olympics.
Natalie Coughlin was also the joint captain of the US women’s swimming team together with five-time Olympian Dara Torres and four-time Olympian Amanda Beard. Coughlin won the gold medal in the 100m backstroke at those Games, becoming the first woman to retain the gold medal position in that event.
Natalie left the 2008 Beijing Olympics & the 2004 Athens Olympics as the most decorated female athlete. She’s won a medal in every single Olympic event she’s ever entered.
For Natalie Coughlin, this weekend was the end of one of the better U.S. Olympic female swimmers in history. Based on a career that saw her become the first woman ever to swim the 100-meter backstroke (long course) in under a minute.
It has been that kind of success that makes her one of the best in the world. She is a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team. While she swam in the qualifying round, she did not swim in the 4×100-meter final, but earned a bronze medal when the U.S. team placed third in the final. Her twelve Olympic medals tie her with Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the most all-time by an American woman.
ASIANCE: What do you feel is the difference in preparing for the London Olympics than the other two Olympics you trained for?
Natalie: The difference is that I’m going to compete in one event and between the last two Olympics, I competed in 11 events. So, I’m focusing on freestyle, I feel like I don’t have anything to prove. When I was going into the Athens games, I was a rookie and I had to prove myself on a world stage. In 2008, it was all about defending my gold medal in the 100 back. This time, I don’t have any of those worries. I’m focusing on 400 freestyle relay and I am very calm but very motivated in this game.
I would just say to know all of your choices through the day have an effect on your performance and that you have set really high goals.
ASIANCE: Which athletes are you most excited about seeing? In swimming? Athletes from other sports?
Natalie: I’m obviously very excited to see Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte swim, as well as Missy Franklin and Catlin Leverenz and many, many others. I am excited to see all of the swimmers to compete. But I am also looking forward to gymnastics, track and beach volleyball. It’ll be very fun.
ASIANCE: How do you feel about Lia Neal? What kinds of things would you like to see in Lia Neal’s future?
Natalie: Lia Neal is great. She qualified in the 400 freestyle relay as well and she’s very young, but she has a ton of potential. She’s very, very strong and I think she has a lot of great things in front of her.
ASIANCE: Is your entire family attending your meet?
Natalie: Yes, my parents, my grandparents, my sister, my husband, my godfather and a few friends. So I have quite a few people be attending.
ASIANCE: After all this, do you think you will train for another Olympics? Are you still motivated for that No. 12 to move into a three-way tie?
Natalie: I’m really not focusing on that, I’m focusing on doing the best I can in 400 freestyle relay and whatever happens happens. And then, anything beyond the Olympics, I really don’t know if I will continue or not. I love being a professional athlete, but right now I’m focusing on this Olympics.
ASIANCE: What are your last thoughts for people who want to be in the Olympics?
Natalie: I would just say to know all of your choices through the day have an effect on your performance and that you have set really high goals. Every decision you make in the pool or in the gym, wherever, affects your goals.
Our first interview with Natalie Coughlin!