Zimbabwe swimming icon Kirsty Coventry is set to be recognised for her achievements during her career by being inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in September.
A five-time Olympian for Zimbabwe, Coventry is tied for the most Olympic medals won by a woman swimmer, having won seven medals between the 2004 and 2008 Games.
After retiring from the sport in 2016 following the Games, she began a career in politics, becoming Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation beginning in September of 2018 in addition to holding several leadership positions within the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The 39-year-old five-time Olympian is one of the 13 honorees from eight countries who will be honoured during the induction ceremony will be held on September 30 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
The list is headlined by American superstar Michael Phelps, who won 23 gold and five other medals across five Olympics starting at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and his longtime coach Bob Bowman.
The others include Paralympics legend Trischa Zorn-Hudson, Missy Franklin, Kosuke Kitajima and Cesar Cielo, diver Wu Minxia, artistic swimmer Natalia Ischenko, water polo player Heather Petri, open-water swimmer Stèphane Lecat, coach Chris Carver and special contributor Sam Ramsamy.
Announcing Coventry’s induction, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) said: “Kirsty Coventry is the most decorated Olympian from the continent of Africa. And not just in swimming, in ALL sports. She and Kristina Egerszegi are tied for having won the most individual Olympic medals in women’s swimming.
“She has competed in five Olympic Games, from 2000-2016, and she won all but one of Zimbabwe’s Olympic medals. In total, she won two gold, four silver and one bronze Olympic medals, all individual. She is a four-time world champion and five-time World Record holder. She is a 22-time medalist at her native All-Africa Games, 14 of which were gold. And to show her versatility, the events ran from the 50 to 800m freestyle, to the breaststroke events, IM and her signature backstroke events. Like Phelps, she could swim it all.”