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Former Olympic Swimmer Severs Spinal Cord in ATV Accident

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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Olympian Amy Van Dyken Rouen’s spinal cord was severed over the weekend during an ATV accident in Arizona.

“Amy has a long, trying road ahead of her, but as anyone who knows her can attest, her unparalleled mental strength and determination will propel her. She is a fighter,” her family said in a written statement. “Now this is her new challenge, her new battle. With the unconditional love and support of her friends, family and fans, Amy welcomes the challenges she will face as she opens this new chapter of her life.”

Van Dyken-Rouen, who is married to former Broncos punter Tom Rouen, graduated from Cherry Creek High School and attended Colorado State University. She won the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly gold medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and was a part of two winning relays. She won two other golds at the 2000 Sydney Games. She was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame in 2008.

Van Dyken-Rouen, 41, was airlifted to the hospital Friday after being injured in the accident in Show Low, which is about 180 miles from Phoenix in the eastern part of Arizona.

A witness said Van Dyken-Rouen, who was not wearing a helmet, was seen on an ATV going through a parking lot and launched over a curb. The witness said he ran to Van Dyken-Rouen and found her unresponsive.

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