50m, 100m Butterfly; 50m, 100m Freestyle; 100m Individual
Four-time Olympian (Athens 2004; Beijing
2008; London 2012; Rio 2016); 50 International Medals
Denmark’s most recognized Olympian, Jeanette Ottesen, fell in love with the water as a child when her family took their annual holiday on the coast in southern France. “Despite my love for the water, I didn’t start swimming until I was 12 because I was always dancing (hip hop, jazz, all styles),” remembers Jeanette. “Just before I turned 13, I stopped dancing. My dad said I couldn’t just come home and sit. My dad forced me to do a sport, but I chose swimming myself.” A little less than four years later, at the age of 16, Jeanette made her first Olympic team and represented her country in the 2004 Athens Games. In 2008, Jeanette won her first international title in the 100-meter Butterfly at the European Short Course Swimming Championships in Croatia and has since won more than 50 international medals. When Jeanette started competitive swimming, her initial goal wasn’t to make an Olympic team. She burst onto the scene through becoming the first person in Denmark to take part in four consecutive Olympiads (Athens 2004; Beijing 2008; London 2012; Rio 2016). At the Rio Games, Jeanette won bronze as part of Denmark’s 4x100-meter Medley Relay team. A key to Jeanette’s longevity and success in the sport is her ability to adapt, set goals, and find ways to achieve her goals. “I’ve always followed my gut,” Jeanette says. “I’ve always followed my own path. If something doesn’t feel right, I make changes. I’ve always been good with change, and have never stayed with a coach more than three years.” Amongst the many reasons Jeanette is thankful for swimming is how the sport has shaped her. “Swimming continually teaches me the importance of being a good sportsman and celebrating others’ successes. It makes me be happy on other people’s behalf. Especially win you’ve seen them work hard and then succeed. It makes me emotional, very happy to see them win, especially when I know them well.“ Currently coached by her husband, British swimmer Marco Loughran, Jeanette is training for the Tokyo Games. The opportunity to represent Denmark in a fifth Olympics is an especially meaningful goal for Jeanette as she is eager to share the experience with her husband and their young daughter.