After I won four medals for swimming in the 1996 Olympics (including two gold medals), I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. My doctors told me I would never compete again at the Olympics or at other major competitions for my sport. No other athletes had done it.
I tried anyways. I rebuilt my strength, and I made it to the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. That year I won gold again, breaking the American record for the 50-meter freestyle. I took the Gold Medal for this same race again in Athens in 2004. Altogether I have won 10 Olympic medals.
I know a thing or two about winning and perseverance. And this summer, I'm working to help LGBT people win full equality as a committed ally, by swimming in Equality California's Second Annual Swim for Equality.
Through the Swim for Equality, dozens of swimmers will come to California's coast to participate in open water swims in Malibu and from Alcatraz Island.
They will be raising awareness and critical funds to advance LGBT rights in California. 'll be with them. Will you?
Saturday, September 24
This isn't just an event for swimmers. There are lots of ways to get involved, like being a Swim Advocate who helps a Swimmer to meet their fundraising goal, or donating, or joining us at a Finish Line Party to celebrate the Swimmer's accomplishments and renew your commitment to LGBT rights.
Sign up today. Let's work together to make LGBT people equal in every way. Achieving full equality won't be easy, and there will be setbacks. But if we persevere, I know we'll reach our finish line.
Gary Hall, Jr.
Ten-time Olympic Medalist &
2011 Swim for Equality Participant