News – The Daily Cougar By Alex Meyer November 17, 2016
“The moment that I won, the thrill of victory was gone within three seconds and the responsibilities of what I then had to carry were coming forward,” said Anthony Ervin, four-time gold medalist swimmer, of the burden of fame. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar
On Wednesday, Olympian Anthony Ervin took the stage of the Student Center South Theater to discuss his newly-released memoir, Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian. As someone who overcame adversity, the four-time gold medalist spoke to University of Houston students about his struggles with fame, addiction, depression and overcoming all odds by returning to the Olympic Games 16 years after his first win.
The Cougar sat down with Ervin before his speech to learn about his college experiences.
The Cougar: How did competing in the Olympics reshape your college experience?
Anthony Ervin: I went to college twice. The first time, I was a Division I student athlete, and it colored it quite heavily. My sophomore, junior and senior years, I was an Olympic champion. So (it affected) how I was perceived by the student body if they knew these things than if they didn’t know who I was, if I had some preservation of anonymity.”
TC: Did that make it harder or easier?
AE: Harder because then everybody comes with a whole battery of expectations and/or hopes of what you would be, and I was just a relatively sheltered kid that was just beginning to flex his freedom of being away from home, especially considering I had just went back to the Olympics and won.
TC: What did it mean to you back then to be a champion?
AE: A lot of us (athletes) would dream of being an Olympic champion, but I don’t think very many people think about — I certainly didn’t think about — what that means. It’s …