Two years ago, I read a blurb about your comeback in the OC Register while visiting my family. I had no clue that your comeback would change my life! I had been getting up at four a.m. for almost a year when we met, I would go back to bed and sleep until 9 a.m.. Then we were introduced on Twitter and my life was transformed in five tweets. I suddenly had a reason to stay up and started working out twice a day five days a week. Then when you challenged me to swim with you, I had no clue what I had been missing out on for 18 years. That workout was amazing and got me back in the pool.
For 18 years, I put myself behind my family and you helped me make myself a priority. I am 30lbs lighter, a lot fitter and headed toward my goal. I have completed my first triathlon, been swimming with a club and I am planning for more and maybe even trying to start competing with Masters swimming again next year.
Thank you for inspiring me, mentoring me and for just being my friend. I truly will miss our morning texts about dragging ourselves to workout. It has been fun cheering you on and watching you try to prove the world wrong. The best part of all, I made a lifelong friend.
"Iron sharpens Iron, so one friend sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17
Along the way, so many joined in and told me how you inspired them. Then people started telling me I inspired them too. So I asked for them to share with you just how you've inspired them.
your friend, Jules
PS if you had quit before November, I wouldn't be where I am today. So thank you for staying the course and finishing strong. None of this would have happened if you hadn't!
As a teen growing up in Oregon, I was a rising star in my local swimming community. Though I didn't swim distance freestyle, I knew how special and incredible Janet Evans accomplishments were. Even in my young years, I knew I was witnessing the greatest swimming champion of my time, and she was a woman! Her incessantly positive persona under pressure, and her relentless drive to meet every challenge was a source of inspiration for my teenage self. So I was thrilled to meet Janet twice, once at Nationals (her parents sat in front of us) and once at a local pool in my community. Her ability to connect with the youth and teen swimmers in my community left an impression as well.
Now, fast forward to 2011, and my 33 year old self saw a teeny article in the paper one day, proclaiming that my idol, Janet Evans, recently began swimming again and is looking to make the Olympic team--at age 40. That she was able and willing to dedicate herself to "some me time" in the mornings, allowing her to train in the pool is a lesson every person should learn. As Janet rediscovered her competitive fires, she managed to inspire me as well. Just last week, an article was published stating that maybe those ambitious women "can't have it all" (referring to a major career and a family life). Well, in a day and age where many women are struggling to hold together a career, family, hearth and home, Janet rose to the occasion, and showed everyone, most importantly herself, that she's still got it. Janet, thanks for the inspiration--again!
Marissa Axell, cyclist, professional fitness coach
Before I discovered the love of triathlon, I grew up as a distance swimmer in Australia. My pet event was the 800m. I watched the Seol Olympics as a 10 year old with not a lot talen, knowledge or dreams. But when I saw Janet take Gold in the 800m, all of a sudden I was inspired and I found a role model. I wanted to go to the Olympics and I joined my first swim club. Over the next four years I went from swimming 3 workouts a week to swimming 10. I was still not even close to the level of Janet as I watched her take gold again in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. This was the year I discovered triathlon, which I did to keep fit over the winter. I still had my sights set on the Olympics.
At 16 I moved out of home to go to University where I joined an elite swim club. I smashed myself swimming upwards of 100km weeks. Unfortunately this took it's toll on my swim career as due to shoulder problems, so I took up triathlon where the dream to go the Olympics was still very alive, only now in a different sport.
I am 34 now and until watching the Olympic Trials in both swimming and triathlon, I would have said that the dream to go to the Olympics was just that, a dream. But once again, Janet Evans (and a handful of other athletes like swimmer Dara Torres and triathlete Laura Bennett) has inspired me once again and given me a new perspective on the possibility of making the Olympics as she takes on athletes half their age. So London Olympics in out, but look out Rio 2016!
Leanda R. Cave, Professional triathlete, Ironman podium finisher
There comes a time in each person's life when you have to take charge and decide your own destiny. Sometimes that happens because someone encourages you. I have been working hard to be a runner....it doesn't come easy to me, it is something I truly have to work at....on a daily basis. It is such an inspiration to see other people working towards their goals! It creates a bond, even if you don't actually know the person. Thank you Janet Evans for being that person....you have inspired so many and continue to inspire me! I love that you have fought for all you have accomplished and have helped so many other people accomplish their goals. Thank you for helping me continue to work towards mine!
Darci Stoll, member of #GOMOMMAGO, runner, teacher and mother
I have been so amazed by the women I have come to know the last couple of years! One I don't really "know" is Janet Evans. She has befriended a wonderful young lady, Julie, and thru you friendship I have been so inspired. I am a 41 y/o woman and I am in awe of your commitment to your sport! Watching your efforts tell me that I can do so much more with my self. I am praying for you today As you go through the Olympic Trials, you are already a winner in my book, no matter the outcome!
Ronda Stanger, runner, member of #GOMOMMAGO, school nurse, and mother