Vollmer shows heart in another inspiring bid

Fri May 6, 2016 2:07pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Swimmer Dana Vollmer has beaten the odds before and the American is displaying her inspiring heart again in a comeback quest for more Olympics hardware at this year's Rio Summer Games.

Vollmer, who overcame heart surgery as a teenager to win gold at the 2004 Olympics, and set a world record on the way to winning the 100m butterfly at the 2012 Games, aims to show she still has what it takes after giving birth last year.

"It’s been a whirlwind, it’s been crazy and it’s also been the most rewarding time of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way," Vollmer told Reuters after launching a commercial for sponsor Procter & Gamble's "Thank You, Mom" campaign.

"It is challenging to decide to want to come back and to try and make an Olympics and be a new mom."

Her first child, son Arlen, was born in March 2015 and the tall, lanky Vollmer said she is coping well with help from husband and ex-Stanford swimmer Andy Grant.

Vollmer, with a vital assist from her mother, answered a massive challenge after she was diagnosed with a heart condition at age 14.

"Any injury is scary," the 28-year-old Vollmer said. "A heart illness especially.

"I had an extra electrical pathway in my heart that made my heart rate skyrocket randomly when I was training. And so they went in through my femoral artery and cauterized it and I actually competed in nationals a week later.   Continued...

Dana Vollmer of the U.S. swims in the women's 100m butterfly semi-final during the World Swimming Championships at the Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona July 28, 2013. REUTERS/Albert Gea/Files