January 21 - American swimming legend and quadruple Olympic gold medallist Janet Evans, who is returning to competition ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, has signed an endorsement agreement with leading swimwear brand Arena.
Evans retired in 1996, becoming a commercial spokesperson, author, television personality and speaker, but has recently returned to action with the hope of qualifying for London 2012.
The 40-year-old qualified for Olympic trials in the 400 and 800 metresfreestyle events, and she will now compete at the Omaha trials in June.
Evans competed at three Olympics -at Seoul in 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996 - before her retirement.
She became the first female to win back to back Olympic and world titles when she took 800m gold at both Seoul and Barcelona, as well as the World Championship crown in the same discipline at Barcelona 1991 and Rome in 1994.
Evans also held the longest standing records in swimming history for 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle, as well as taking 45 American national titles, a statistic only bettered by Michael Phelps and Tracy Caulkins.
"It feels good to be back training hard and competing in the sport I love," Evans said.
"I've received an outpouring of support and having a great team such as Arena backing me up simply gives me more motivation."
Evans will be an ambassador for Arena, becoming part of its elite team, as well as joining the American Swimming Coaches Association SwimAmerica programme.
"Janet's strong sense of character and passion for swimming, combined with her core values, are the reasons why we believe she makes the ideal spokesperson and athlete for our brand," said the Arena North America vice president Tim McCool.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
January 2012: Mike Moran - Everyone is willing Janet Evans to make it to London 2012