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Volume 22 No. 11
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Janet Evans, Los Angeles 2028

Photo: Getty Images

Janet Evans

Director of Athlete Relations, Los Angeles 2028
Born: Fullerton, Calif.
Education: B.A., communications, USC

It’s standard practice for Olympic bid committees to make famous athletes the face of their sales pitch both at home and abroad, and Janet Evans was no different with Los Angeles 2028.

But Evans, a four-time swimming gold medalist at the Barcelona and Seoul Olympics, was no mere talking head. She made the campaign appearances, but continues to serve as director of athlete relations for the organizing committee. That’s a substantive role for a group that’s made big promises about improving the comfort of athletes and their families.

Evans has developed a robust public speaking business and is putting her outgoing personality to work for her community — both her home of Los Angeles and the community of elite athletes around the world.

She credits the coach from her Olympics career, Mark Schubert, who helped her through the tough lessons of her late-career comeback. “He taught me I wasn’t always going to win, and that life was going to throw me curve balls.” That drove her to prepare for a life after the medals.

The question that drives her today is, “How do we give athletes opportunities above and beyond those 16 days [of the Olympics]?” she said. And LA28 Chair Casey Wasserman, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA28 CEO Gene Sykes “gave me the confidence and the bandwidth to say, ‘this is what we’re going to do.’”

— Ben Fischer

Getting to know...

Networking works best when: I take off my athlete hat.
Proudest professional achievement: When our ultimate goal — bringing the Olympic and Paralympic Games back to L.A. — was reached in September of 2017 with the IOC awarding us the 2028 Games.
Woman in sports business I’d like to meet: Mary Davis, Global CEO of the Special Olympics. I admire the incredible success of the Special Olympics.
I wish I’d known at my career’s start: Being a successful athlete doesn’t give you a free pass in the rest of your career. It takes hard work, patience and determination to leave the sporting world as an athlete and find success on the administrative side of sport.
Role of sports in social issues:  Being a positive role model and inspiring others is a core principle of being an athlete. This transcends to sports teams and the images they choose to present to the public.