b. 1971, raised in Placentia
1988 and ’92 Olympic gold-medal swimmer
It was important to my parents that, apart from all the crazy travel and all the training I did, I’d have some semblance of a normal childhood. And I feel Placentia gave that to me. I felt such a sense of support.
When I was headed for the Olympics there were billboards at the schools, and all the local businesses in Placentia had things on their marquees, like “Good luck, Janet.” [People at my] high school, El Dorado, were awesome. They sent telegrams to wish me luck. Telegrams! That’s how old we are. I still have them in my scrapbook.
The high school was close to our house. I’d hop the fence to the track and walk to my classrooms. I wanted to be a cheerleader and be on the student council, but I didn’t have time for that. But the school made me feel special in other ways, like making me homecoming queen. How about that dress!