|Articles, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-08-28 02:25Z by Steven|
Amy Goodman, Host and Executive Producer
While Michael Phelps dominated the Olympic headlines over the weekend by scoring a historic 23rd gold medal, another American male swimmer has also made history in Rio. Thirty-five-year-old Anthony Ervin became the oldest-ever individual Olympic swimming gold medalist when he won two gold medals for the men’s 50-meter freestyle and the men’s four-by-100-meter freestyle relay. For more, we go to Rio to speak with Ervin, who is also the author of the recent book titled “Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian.”
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re in Rio de Janeiro—at least that’s where our guests are. We’re joined by Jesse Washington of The Undefeated, as well as Anthony Ervin, U.S. swimming champion and four-time Olympic medalist. At 35 years old, he’s the oldest-ever individual Olympic swimming gold medalist. Just wrote the book Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian.
Anthony, welcome to Democracy Now! Congratulations on your remarkable victory. Talk about how you feel right now and what it means to you.
ANTHONY ERVIN: Thank you for having me. I feel good. Got some lights burning right into me, and I’m staring into a vacuum to talk back to you.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, talk about how you felt when you realized—when did you realize you had won, with all those toddlers in the pool, you at 35?…
…AMY GOODMAN: Anthony, you write in your beautiful book, Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian, about what it was like after you won in 2000—you won that gold medal—about being promoted as an African-American trailblazer, when you felt, at that point, as a teen, you hadn’t really grown up with that black identity. Can you talk about your life in that way, who your parents are?
ANTHONY ERVIN: Sure. You know, my mom, she came from New York City. She’s a city gal. You know, she even keeps her own—her personal history is a mystery, even to me and the rest of us kids. And my dad came from West Virginia. You know, his father was a coal miner. And, you know, he was—I mean, the question of blackness, you know, is a question of authenticity. And to be viewed in that way—and swimming is—it’s a very visual sport. It’s a body. You know, literally, you’re a body in the water, wearing close to nothing, so that body is on display. And if we’re talking about blackness, blackness is a color. You know, it’s—in the eyes of many, it’s a skin tone. You know, but then, if you dig into the history of it, there’s the idea of hypodescent. You know, one drop of blood makes you black. So, it’s all very complicated, and I didn’t know about any of this. I wasn’t educated on the history of this. Or if I was, I was snoozing through it in classrooms. So, I didn’t know how to necessarily answer to it. And I had trouble tackling, trying to argue that, you know, I authentically am this, if others say I’m not, or people trying to posit some kind of identity on me which I did not drape on myself. I mean, it’s a question of being able to pursue my personal freedom and needing to shuck all forms of identity in order to do that.
AMY GOODMAN: Your father is African-American, Native American?…
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