Six-time Olympic champion swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was released from a Colorado hospital Thursday, a little over two months after she was paralyzed below the waist and severed her spine in an ATV accident.
“1,000 times better,” she told reporters in Englewood, Colo. “When I first came in, if you remember, I was on a stretcher, didn’t really know how to use a wheelchair. Now I am the wheelie queen. I can go up a ramp, down a ramp in a wheelie. I can wheelie everywhere. It’s my favorite thing to do.”
Van Dyken-Rouen, 41, said she felt sporadic movement below her belly button in an interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer aired June 27, giving her some hope she may regain some feelings in her legs one day.
She said the toughest time of her recovery so far was the first time she went into the swimming pool, when she was told she had to do therapy in the water instead of swim laps.
“It’s been a lot of work, absolutely,” she said Thursday. “It’s been a lot of smiles, and a lot of laughs and a lot of ‘woo-hoos,’ and a lot of singing. There’s been a lot of tears shed, for sure. This is not easy. And I don’t want to portray the fact that because I have a smile on my face that it really is easy. It’s really not. It’s really life-changing.”
Jason Lezak on life in retirement
Puma has introduced the “BeatBot,” a self-driving, line-following robot that runners can program to move at a specific pace around a track.
That means one could race against a robot-version of Usain Bolt‘s 100m world record of 9.58 seconds, with BeatBot’s top speed at just over 27 miles per hour.
The BeatBot can also navigate track curves, as shown in the video above.
Puma plans to roll out BeatBot to various track programs around the world over the year.
MORE: Bolt, Ashton Eaton set for showdown
Several U.S. Olympic champions highlight the Penn Relays and Drake Relays fields, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday.
At the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, the U.S. 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m pools include:
Justin Gatlin: 2004 Olympic 100m champ
Tyson Gay: Olympic 100m, fourth place
Carmelita Jeter: Olympic 100m silver medalist
Jeremy Wariner: 2004 Olympic 400m champ
Sanya Richards-Ross: Olympic 400m champ
Also competing will be two-time Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 2008 Olympic 100m silver medalist Kerron Stewart and 2015 World 200m silver medalist Elaine Thompson for Team Jamaica.
STREAM: Penn Relays: 12:30-3 p.m. ET
Next is the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, including:
- 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt versus 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James in the 400m
- World Indoor champion Vashti Cunningham in the high jump. Cunningham, 18, is the daughter of retired NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Randall Cunningham.
- 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson versus 2013 World champion Brianna Rollins in the 100m hurdles.
STREAM: Drake Relays: 3-5 p.m. ET
MORE: Full NBC Olympic trials broadcast schedule