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Born On: June 8th, 1982
Hometown: Akron, Ohio
Resides in: St. Louis, MO
Education: Auburn (B.S., Criminology)
More than a decade later, the words spoken by 1992 Olympic gold medalist swimmer Mike Barrowman still resonate loudly in Mark Gangloff’s mind. After giving a clinic for Gangloff’s Akron Firestone swim team, Barrowman told the impressionable youngsters there was a future Olympian in his midst.
Gangloff, 12 at the time, used Barrowman’s words as a source of inspiration. So moved by the Olympic legend, the young Gangloff wore an autographed T-shirt so many times to school that his classmates teased him. Little did they know that he would one day be handing out autographs. Now one of the top breaststrokers in the world, Gangloff fulfilled Barrowman’s prognostication when he competed in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. As a first time Olympian, Gangloff swam to a gold in the 400-meter medley relay and finished fourth in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Gangloff once again struck gold in Beijing, helping lead the United States to a win in the 400-meter medley relay. Individually, he also reached the finals of the 100-meter breaststroke for his second consecutive Olympics.
Prior to the Beijing Olympics, Mark was a gold medalist at the 2005 World Championships and the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, taking gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay and the 100-meter breaststroke. He remains the Pan-Am Games record holder in the 100-meter breaststroke and was part of the 400-meter medley team that earned the same distinction.
The Olympic gold medalists’ professional career was preceded by an amateur career that boasted national championships, All-Americans and state titles. While at national swimming powerhouse Auburn University, Mark won an individual championship in 2004 and helped lead the Tigers to back-to-back national titles in 2003 and 2004. A four-time SEC Champion and a 13-time All American, Gangloff lived up to the hype that came from being a 4-time Ohio State Champion swimmer while at Akron Firestone High School.
FROM ACTOR TO AMBASSADOR
Gangloff translates his experiences in the pool into everyday life. Like Barrowman for him, Gangloff is passionate about inspiring others, and he does so through lessons he has taken from the pool. From sharing tales of Olympic glory to reflecting back to the hard work and dedication that comes with training, Gangloff has been able to connect with a wide spectrum of organizations, from youths to corporations. As an Olympic medalist, Gangloff is able to share his gold medal story to motivate others.
Outside of coaching for the University of Missouri, Gangloff is also active in Right to Play, an international organization committed to improving health, living situations and conflict resolution in third-world countries through sport. Now an athlete ambassador, he was particularly drawn to the organization because of his belief in a healthy and active lifestyle. In September 2008 he attended a gala and workshop in New York.
The Olympian has also been featured on the big screen. In 2006 he was cast in “The Guardian,” starring Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner. The film plot revolves around the Coast Guards elite rescue swimmers, and Gangloff played Kutcher’s classmate at “A-School” training. Gangloff, with his All-American good looks and boyish charm, was a natural for the film, especially considering he studied criminology at Auburn.
Aspirations of being an F.B.I. or secret service agent have passed for the Olympian as he plans to pursue full-time coaching and spend a lot of time with his wife. Gangloff is focused sharing the Olympic dream with others as was once done for him.
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