One of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 1980s, Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines IV will be one of the announcers of the 2015 Summer Olympics in Rio.
Gaines, who set world records in the 100-meter freestyle in 1981, the 200-meter freestyle in 1982 and won three gold medals for the U.S. 1984 Olympic Games, graduated from Auburn University in 1981.
After entering the 1984 Olympic trials as a “past his prime” long-shot to make the team, he set an Olympic record in the 100-meter freestyle, and helped establish a world record by anchoring the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team. He completed the gold medal triple by swimming the freestyle anchor of the 4×100-meter medley, again setting Olympic and world records.
Gaines also was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, which did not compete in Moscow because of the U.S. boycott.
After retiring, Gaines turned to broadcasting, working as a commentator on NBC’s coverage of the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1992 and then as an analyst for NBC’s Olympic swimming coverage from Barcelona that same summer and again for the Beijing Games in 2008.
Named the World Swimmer of the Year in 1981, Gaines was an eight-time NCAA champion at Auburn University and was honored as the Southeastern Conference’s Athlete of the Year in 1981. He is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and later served as the Hall’s Executive Director. Gaines also served as the Chief Fundraising and Alumni Officer at USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport in the U.S.