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Gold medalist Rouen hurt in Arizona ATV accident

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Six-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Amy Van Dyken was airlifted to a hospital over the weekend after an accident on an all-terrain vehicle left her with no feeling in her feet or legs.

The 46-year-old swimmer, who goes by her married name Van Dyken Rouen, was injured Friday evening, according to a Show Low Police Department report. The ATV was driving hit a curb in a restaurant parking lot and sent her flying over a drop-off between 5 to 7 feet.

Rouen was found lying on the ground next to the ATV and told EMS personnel she could not move her toes or feel anything touching her legs, the report said. She was strapped to a backboard and airlifted to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman did not immediately return calls for an update on her condition.

A witness at the scene said he saw Rouen launch over the curb and found her unresponsive when he arrived on the scene, the report added. Rouen was not wearing a helmet at the time, but apparently did not suffer head trauma.

Her husband, former Denver Broncos punter Tom Rouen, told police officers he had changed the throttle mechanism on the ATV from a thumb accelerator to a twist accelerator a few days before the accident, though wasn't sure if it was a factor in the accident. He also said Amy had not been drinking alcohol that evening.

Rouen was a huge star at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, where she became the first U.S. female athlete to win four gold medals in a single games. She captured the 50-meter freestyle and 100 butterfly and also competed on the winning relay teams in the 400 free and 400 medley.

Four years later at Sydney, she added two more golds in the 400 free and 400 medley relays before retiring from competition.

In 2003, she was among numerous prominent athletes who testified before a grand jury investigating the BALCO doping scandal. Rouen never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during her career.

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PRAISE GOD! June 09 2014 at 2:29 PM


Flag Reply +18 rate up
4 replies
skylab_420 June 09 2014 at 3:22 PM

Sad how so many blame the ATV or her brainpower for riding one. She obviously was not wearing the proper protective gear(they do have spine protectors that are cheap) & she was riding on the pavement. The first two things it says on the gas tank is wear protective gear & stay off the pavement. She also just installed an aftermarket throttle that racers use. It's called a suicide throttle. Go figure. I've used ATVs in my job as an Archaeologist since 1975 & have never had a serious injury. I've seen plenty but every one of them was avoidable. ATVs are only one of the many off road vehicles & watercraft I use. Were the astronauts stupid for getting in the Challenger? No, they weren't. It took courage. A little education & some courage go a long way in this world & will sometimes get you killed. I wouldn't trade a minute of my adventures for a lifetime of sitting on a couch passing judgement on others.

Flag Reply +15 rate up
7 replies
prnyl June 09 2014 at 2:32 PM

Great athlete but you cannot fix stupid for being on an ATV

Flag Reply +10 rate up
5 replies
pjarizona June 09 2014 at 2:43 PM

Hope she recovers soon.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
happy2bgridfree June 09 2014 at 3:39 PM

Personally, I think riding an ATV is stupid. I think anyone who lets their KIDS ride those things is an idiot. Anyone who rides one of those things WITH their kids is a moron.

BUT ...

That is my opinion. I have family members who partake in this activity and I understand a LOT of people enjoy ATV riding. I accept that. Different strokes for different folks and blah blah blah.

However, why was she riding it in a parking lot? At such speed that she jumped a curb? Thank goodness innocent bystanders were not hurt.

I hope she recovers ... but still .... duh.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
4 replies
jt2 June 09 2014 at 3:37 PM

what a shame, hope she makes good progress

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Diane June 09 2014 at 2:24 PM

Oh Lord---not being able to feel anything in her legs is not a good thing.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Apple Diane June 09 2014 at 4:47 PM

That is true but keep her lifted in prayer and perhaps it is temporary damage from swelling lets hope for the best!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Madeleine June 09 2014 at 2:35 PM

ATV's are just plain dangerous.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
wklingensmith Madeleine June 09 2014 at 2:42 PM

Folks driving ATV's that have no knowledge of what they are doing are dangerous, not the ATV with the exception of a three wheeler.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
sstanroberts Madeleine June 09 2014 at 11:47 PM

Anything is dangerous until you learn how to use it properly.Everything is dangerous if you are afraid to try.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
michael.k.goodwin June 09 2014 at 2:33 PM

Darwinism prevails!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
Apple michael.k.goodwin June 09 2014 at 4:54 PM

Whatever one sets their minds to prevails!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Scooter June 09 2014 at 4:42 PM

So very sad...

when smart people do stupid things!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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