Anthony Ervin

Anthony Ervin














Anthony Lee Ervin (born May 26, 1981) is an American competition swimmer who has won two Olympic medals and two World Championship golds. At the 2000 Summer Olympics, he won a gold medal in the men's 50-meter freestyle, and earned a silver medal as a member of the second-place U.S. relay team in the 4×100-meter freestyle event. He is the first swimmer of African American descent to medal in Olympic swimming.


Ervin stopped swimming competitively at the age of 22 in 2003,n auctioned off his 2000 Olympic gold medal on eBay to aid survivors of the 2004 tsunami, but he began to train again in 2011.


Ervin competed in the 50-meter freestyle event at the 2012 Summer Olympics where he placed fifth.

Personal life

Ervin is Jewish, and was born in Hollywood. He is of European descent on his mother's side, and of African-American and Native American descent on his father's. He was raised in Valencia, California.  While living in Santa Clarita, he swam for Canyons Aquatic Club, and also competed on the Hart High School's swim team in Newhall, California.


Anthony enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his bachelor's degree in English in 2010.

  He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in sport, culture and education at the University of California.

International career

2000: Sydney Summer Olympic Games

At the 2000 United States Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, Ervin competed in two events: the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle. In the final of the 100-meter freestyle, Ervin finished fifth with a time of 49.29, ensuring him a spot on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In the final of the 50-meter freestyle, Ervin finished in second place behind Gary Hall Jr. with a time of 21.80.


At the 2000 Summer Olympics, Ervin won one gold and one silver medal. In his first final, the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Ervin teamed up with Gary Hall Jr., Neil Walker and Jason Lezak. Going into the final, the Americans had never lost the event at the Olympics. Ervin swam the leadoff leg in 48.89, the second best lead-off behind Michael Klim's world record time of 48.18. The American team ended up finishing in second place with a time of 3:13.86 behind Australia, who finished in a world record time of 3:13.67. In the final of the 50-meter freestyle, Ervin tied Gary Hall Jr. for the gold with a time of 21.98.


After the gold medal race, reporter Jim Gray asked Ervin what it felt like to be the first swimmer of African American descent to win gold. Referring to this moment in a 2012 interview, Ervin stated, "I didn't know a thing about what it was like to be part of the black experience. But now I do. It's like winning gold and having a bunch of old white people ask you what it's like to be black. That is my black experience."

2001–2003: World Championships and Pan Pacs

Ervin won two gold medals at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships in the 50-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle. He also competed in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay, but the U.S. relay team was disqualified. At the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships Ervin won silver medals in the 50-meter freestyle and 4 x 100 freestyle relay.

2012: Comeback and Summer Olympics

Twelve years after competing in his last Olympics as a 19-year-old, Ervin qualified for his second U.S. Olympic team as a 31-year-old at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, by finishing second in the men's 50-meter freestyle. His time of 21.60 seconds was only one one-hundredth (0.01) of a second behind Cullen Jones (21.59) and also a personal best for Ervin.


At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he finished fifth in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 21.78 seconds.

2013–14: World Championships and Pan Pacs

At the 2013 US National Championships, Ervin qualified to swim at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona by placing second in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 21.70, and third in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 48.49.


In his first event at the World Championships, Ervin combined with Nathan Adrian, Ryan Lochte and Jimmy Feigen in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, with the team finishing behind France. Swimming the third leg, Ervin recorded a split of 47.44, and the team finished with a final time of 3:11.44. Ervin's split was the fastest among the Americans.


In his only individual event, the 50-meter freestyle, Ervin entered the final as the second seed with a semi-final time of 21.42, a personal best for him and only 2-hundredths of a second behind the American Record. In the final, Ervin finished in 6th place with a time of 21.65.


In 2014, on the Gold Coast, Ervin collected 2 silver medals at the Pan Pacs.