Interview by Kent Sanderson 8-19-04.
George Bovell was sitting in the ready-room just prior to his swim for the 200 meter Individual Medley finals. First, Auburn teammate, Bryce Hunt comes up to encourage him, then Auburn teammate Jeremy Knowles came up with a magic marker to inscribe on his bicep a hammer. George is known as the "Hammer of Justice" with the Auburn swim team. Then Auburn teammates, Fred Bousquet, Romain Barnier, Mark Gangloff, and Auburn teammate and USA Olympian diver, Ceasar Garcia all came and rallied around George challenging him to bring honor to Auburn swimming. Once George got into the Auburn team mode and not the individual George mode, he was not as nervous any more. His Olympic coach, Anil Roberts said "this Auburn support made a very big difference".
Trinidad/Tobago as a country shut down their country to celebrate their first Olympic medal winner. Today is a holiday of celebration in Trinidad/Tobago. The prime minister called George to congratulate him.
Auburn’s head coach, David Marsh said, "As a coach, I am most proud of George for how he handled tonight’s race. He was struggling to have a good meet. It is very difficult to turns things around, this shows George’s toughness."
Q: Who would you like to thank for helping you achieve this Olympic medal?
"My family first; my parents George and Barbara Bovell who have always supported me; taking me to swim practice and meets for many years before I moved to attend Auburn. My younger sister, Alexander and my 2 aunts, Janet Bishop and Annie Vance are here in Athens with my parents supporting me. My brother Nicholas is back home recovering from an ear surgery. He had qualified to swim in these Olympics for Trinidad/Tobago like myself. I would also like to thank David Marsh and the rest of Auburn coaching staff for providing an environment of athletic excellence at Auburn University".
Q: Did racing Michael Phelps who won the gold medal tonight distract you?
"No, Michael Phelps had come down to Auburn for a meet this past winter and I had an opportunity to compete against him then. Tonight, I was thinking more about swimming for Auburn pride than racing Michael Phelps".