Olympic medal winner returns home to Havertown

August 10, 2012 4:52:28 PM PDT
A member of the U.S. Olympic swim team is back home in Havertown from London, and has been busy sharing his medals and experiences with friends and family this week.

Brendan Hansen was on the medal podium twice during the games.

"I am so glad that these Olympics I was involved in it and not just watching it on TV," said Brendan.

In 2008, Brendan Hansen announced he would retire.

"After Beijing, I was just really burned out by the sport, and wanted to kind of do something else. It felt like life was passing by," he said.

Hansen wanted to define himself outside of swimming. He did triathlons and got married, and then two years ago, he started thinking about London.

"It is really hard when two years out from the Olympics you start hearing people talk about it. And so I got back in the water and started going after it again," he said.

His first race in the London games was the 100 meter breast stroke; he won the bronze. He won the gold in the medley relay, the last race of the meet, where he swam with Michael Phelps, a teammate on almost every national team since 2000.

"It was my last Olympic swim, and his last Olympic swim, so it was kind of? I grew up swimming with that kid ever since he was 15," Brendan said.

Hansen had not been expected to medal at all this year, but he says he knew he was going to have his best Olympics ever.

"I was really going into these games with a clear mind," he said. "Every athlete there is physically ready to compete. It is the people that are really ready to handle the stress and pressure the Olympics bring is what brings it all together."

He found out his wife was pregnant just before the Olympics. Their baby is due in January.

"You put so much pressure on yourself in the Olympics, and it is such a high platform that when you go into your first ultrasound and see the baby for the first time, it puts everything else into perspective," Brendan said.

This week, Brendan spent time at the Suburban Seahawks Swim Club in Newtown Square and at his old summer league swim club in Havertown.

He lives in Austin now, and he wants to open a swim school for kids there and in Philadelphia.

"I just want to make it real for them, make them realize that I am not an amazing person, I just went out and chased a dream and worked hard for it," he said.

Brendan says swimming gave him most of his strengths as a person, and he wants to pass that on to the next generation.


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