Best Known For
Swimmer Natalie Coughlin has won more than 10 Olympic medals in her career, including two gold medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born in 1982, American swimmer Natalie Coughlin began competing at the age of 6. She later joined the Terrapin swim team and became one of the top high school swimmers in the country. Coughlin excelled at her sport at the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to win gold medals at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. She is slated to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Olympic athlete Natalie Anne Coughlin Hall was born on August 23, 1982, in Vallejo, California. The daughter of a police officer and a paralegal, Coughlin started swimming competitively when she was 6 years old. She later became a member of the Terrapins swim team. One of her coaches, Ray Mitchell, later told The New Yorker that even early on, Coughlin "had one speed and that was 'all out.'"
Coughlin emerged as one of the nation's top young swimmers in high school. In 1999, however, she was sidelined by a shoulder injury. Coughlin didn't give up, though. She continued to practice, honing on her powerful kick. At the University of California Berkeley, Coughlin soon showed that she had more than fully recovered from her shoulder trouble. She won 12 NCAA titles during her time at the school ,and was named NCAA Swimmer of the Year for three consecutive years, from 2001 to 2003. On a national level, Coughlin set new record times, including the American record for the 50-meter backstroke in 2002. She also clinched five U.S. National titles that same year.
In 2004, Coughlin earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team. She won gold at the Athens Olympic Games, in both the 100-meter backstroke and 800-meter freestyle relay. She and her relay teammates, Lacey Nymeyer, Kara Lynn Joyce and Dara Torres, set a new world record in their event. The following year, Coughlin graduated from Berkeley with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
Four years later, Coughlin showed no signs of slowing down. She, in fact, seemed to speed up, setting a new record in the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008. With a time of 58.97 seconds, Coughlin became the first woman to swim the event in under a minute. She continued to gain momentum as she competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. There, Coughlin became the first woman to win gold in the 100-meter backstroke in consecutive Olympics.
After Beijing, Coughlin spent some time focusing on other aspects of her life. She showed television viewers what she could do on land, competing on the popular show Dancing with the Stars in 2009. Coughlin got married that same year. She and her longtime boyfriend, Ethan Hall, tied the knot that April, in Napa, California. The couple's dog served as a ring bearer.
Before long, Coughlin had set her sights on her next Olympic win, and she began training for the 2012 Olympic Games. She made a strong showing at the 2011 World Championships, taking home gold in the 100-meter backstroke and silver in the 400-meter freestyle relay. Coughlin managed to earn a spot on the U.S. Swim Team, making it to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
© 2013 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Natalie Coughlin profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Olympic athletes draw crowds for their amazing achievements, but some have all eyes on them because of their movie star looks and ripped bodies. These sexy athletes have graced the covers of magazines and earned the status of "Olympic hearththrobs." From 1970s Olympic hottie Bruce Jenner to sexy swimmer Ryan Lochte to javelin-throwing model Leryn Franco, here are some of the Hottest Olympic Athletes that make fans' hearts flutter.
Hottest Olympic Athletes 26 people in this group
The 2012 London Summer Olympic Games set the stage for fierce competition among the world's top athletes in track and field, boxing, gymnastics, soccer, swimming and basketball, among other sports. Explore Biography.com's list of Olympic 2012 Athletes, from swimmers Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte to javelin-throwing beauty Leryn Franco, to swift track stars Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Sanya Richards-Ross, and more.
Olympic 2012 Athletes 49 people in this group
presented by Olympic 2012 Athletes
Famous Virgoans 594 people in this group