I deserve to be in Rio, says Ervin


ANTHONY ERVIN is out to prove he is not yesterday’s man as he prepares to make history.

Now 35 and preparing to compete in his third Olympic games, the 2000 Sydney gold medallist knows he has a battle on in keeping up with the young pretenders.

The veteran American takes his spot in the men’s 50m freestyle and the 400m free relay team. With that he becomes the oldest American male swimmer to make the Olympics in an individual event since 1904.

He said: “I feel the experience will stand me in good stead. My form has good and I’m still proving how fast I am. Just look at my times in the American trials. Forget the age, I deserve to be Rio.”

Placed fifth in the 50m at the 2012 Olympic Games, many thought Ervin’s best shot at winning another medal had gone.

But he defied those who claimed he was too old to still be vying with the world's best in the pool.

He said: “I felt after London that there was still a lot for me to learn and I was enjoying the experience. I didn’t feel it was time to give up. Hard work and dedication has got me to this stage. That's just part of who I am."

Ervin is no Mark Spitz but he is certainly a colourful character.

He is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent on his mother Sherry’s side, and of African-American and Native American descent on his father Jack’s side.

And he stopped swimming competitively in 2003, auctioned off his gold medal on ebay to aid survivors of the 2004 tsunami only to begin training again in 2011.

Now he wants a medal for keeps and added: “Selling my gold medal was not an attempt to grab the limelight. There are different ways for individuals to make a positive impact on the world. I will give it my best in Rio. I feel a medal is not out the question."

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