Olympic champion swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was set to fly from a Scottsdale, Ariz., hospital to one in Englewood, Colo., on Wednesday, 12 days after she severed her spine in an all-terrain vehicle accident.
Van Dyken-Rouen, who won six golds over the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, was in good spirits in a video from her hospital bed shared on TODAY on Wednesday.
“I just wanted to thank you guys and everyone who watches the TODAY show for all of your support, all of your prayers and positive vibes,” she said. “It’s definitely helping.”
Van Dyken-Rouen talked further, tearing up and explaining the extreme risk before her surgery less than two weeks ago, according to USA Today.
“[The neurosurgeon] told [husband] Tom and I to say our goodbyes,” she said, according to the newspaper. “There was a good chance I wasn’t going to make it out of surgery. It was one of those things where I looked at my husband and basically said, ‘I love you, goodbye, please continue on with your life.’ I allow you to date, which was hard to say. To do that and then to be here now and to be with him is the most amazing thing.”
Van Dyken-Rouen has paralysis in her legs and broken ribs, in addition to the severed spine, according to the report.
“I’m excited to get to this new part of my life,” Van Dyken-Rouen said. “It’s almost like a rebirth. I get to learn how to do everything all over again. I’m anxious to do that. It’s time to start so I can get back to Arizona and start my new life, I guess.”
Van Dyken-Rouen has provided updates over the last week on Twitter and Instagram.
“I will see you later,” she said, smiling. “Wheels up!”
Patty Mills, NBA Finals star, has quite an Olympic backstory
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian soccer star Neymar says the problems at the athletes’ village could harm the preparations of some Olympic competitors at the Rio Games.
“If this is all true, we have to lament it. We had so much time to get everything ready, but some things didn’t work out,” he said as Brazil’s men’s team prepares for the Olympic tournament.
“I hope they fix all the problems,” he said. “It’s complicated for athletes to come from abroad and realize that their accommodation is not in good condition. You prepare three years of your life to be in the Olympics and then something like this ends up hurting you. It’s not nice. I hope they can fix everything and that everybody can be happy”
Brazil’s men’s team is preparing for the games at a training camp in the mountain city of Teresopolis on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
In other news, Brazil’s starting goalkeeper injured his right elbow and could miss the team’s final warmup match ahead of the games.
Fernando Prass did not practice on Tuesday after complaining of pain in his elbow and it remains unclear whether he will be fit to play the friendly against Japan on Saturday. The 38-year-old Palmeiras player will be re-evaluated daily.
Prass was one of the players older than 23 selected for Brazil’s squad, under Olympic soccer rules.
Brazil’s opening game at the Olympics is against South Africa on Aug. 4 in Brasilia.
MORE: Belarus says athletes village unsanitary, but Australia set to move in
A documentary telling the story of 18 African-American Olympians who took part in the 1936 Berlin Games is set to be released Aug. 5, in conjunction with the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony in Rio.
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” highlights the black athletes, headlined by Jesse Owens, who competed in the face of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler on the brink of World War II.
The independent film was written, directed and executive produced by Deborah Riley Draper, who was recently named one of 10 “Documakers to Watch” by Variety. The film is narrated by Grammy award winner and two-time Golden Globe nominee Blair Underwood, who also was an executive producer.
Draper and Underwood are hoping to share the stories of all the athletes, not just Owens. They recently had a screening in Brazil, and will show the documentary at the Monica Film Center in Los Angeles and Cinema Village in New York City before rolling it out across the U.S.
You can watch trailers for the film here and here.
From the film’s website:
“Olympic Pride, American Prejudice is a feature length documentary exploring the trials and triumphs of 18 African American Olympians in 1936. Set against the strained and turbulent atmosphere of a racially divided America, which was torn between boycotting Hitler’s Olympics or participating in the Third Reich’s grandest affair, the film follows 16 men and two women before, during and after their heroic turn at the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. They represented a country that considered them second class citizens and competed in a country that rolled out the red carpet in spite of an undercurrent of Aryan superiority and anti-Semitism. They carried the weight of a race on their shoulders and did the unexpected with grace and dignity.
The athletes experienced things that they were not expecting—applause, warm welcomes, integrated Olympic villages and the respect of their competitors. They were world heroes yet returned home to a short-lived glory. This story is complicated. This story is triumphant but unheralded.”
MORE: Jesse Owens’ daughter cried watching ‘Race’ film ending