Born Dec. 30, 1987 Jeanette Ottesen is a Danish Olympian and Record Holder. Ottesen specializes in the sprint events, and has competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. She currently holds the Danish Record in the 100m freestyle, but she’s just as good in the 100 butterfly.
Standing around 5’10” Ottesen swims for TYR, but she’s also garnered multiple other sponsors including Omega and Mercedes-Benz to name a few.
Although she only started swimming at age 12, Ottesen had made her first international competition by 13 years old when she qualified for the European Youth Olympic Festival, and qualified for the Olympics just four years after joining a swim team.
Ottesen qualified for her first Olympic Games at just 16 years old, but even more impressive, she had just started swimming four years prior. She competed in the 100m freestyle, and was on a leg of the 400m medley relay.
Known by former marriage
She may also be known as Jeanette Ottesen Gray from her former marriage to Bobby Gray. The two announced their legal separation in 2013 after being married in fall 2011 and having a 10-year relationship prior to that.
Danish Sports Name of the Year
In 2011 she was named the Danish Sports Name of the Year – an award given by the National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark and the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, which was first awarded in 1991.
At Beijing in 2008 Ottesen swam the 200m freestyle, finishing just outside the podium in fifth place. Ottesen also swam in the 100m freestyle. In the same year she won a gold medal in the 100m butterfly at the 2008 World Short Course Championships.
First individual world title win
In 2011 Ottesen won gold in the 100m freestyle at the 14th Annual FINA World Championships. She tied with Belarusian Aleksandra Gerasimenya, with both women winning their first individual world title.
At the 2012 London Olympics Ottesen qualified in a few more events including the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 400m medley relay, and the 400m freestyle relay. Her best finish came in the 400m freestyle relay, where the Danish finished fourth. At the Singapore World Cup in 2012 Ottesen grabbed gold in both the 50m and 100m butterfly.
In Nov. 2014 Ottesen popped a 56.32 100m butterfly at the North Sea Swim Meet, which would have put her fourth in the world, but the swim was ruled as a controversial disqualification. As of May 2015 she’s listed in the year’s top 10 in the world in the 50m freestyle and 100m butterfly.
At the 2015 World Championships in Kazan Ottesen went head-to-head in the 50 and 100-meter butterfly with sprint specialist Sarah Sjostrom from Sweden. In the 50-meter distance, Ottesen qualified second out of the semi-final behind Sjostrom. In the championship final she had a great reaction off the blocks and had a well-executed race finishing just behind Sjostrom and she narrowly touched out Ying Lu from China by .03 seconds.
In the longer distance of the two races, Ottesen was a bit overshadowed due to Sjostrom’s World Record performance in the semi-final. In the final of the 100-meter fly, Ottesen took out the first 50 meters blazing fast, but Sjostrom had the endurance at the end to take home the gold medal. Ottesen added just .01 seconds from the semi-final, but her time that nearly broke 57 seconds was good enough for another silver medal. Ottesen also handled the butterfly leg of Denmark’s 4×100-meter medley relay, where she split the second-fastest time of the event, helping Denmark come to a fifth-place finish.
2016 Rio Olympics
Ottesen swam a 57.15 in the heats of the 100M Fly placing her in the semifinal and in a position to make the finals. In the finals, Ottesen finished in 8th place. In the 100M free, Ottesen finished in 8th place, just .66 seconds behind first place finisher Simone Manuel. In the 50M free, Ottesen did not qualify for the finals finishing in 11th place. Ottesen along with teammates Mie Nielsen, Rikke Moller Pedersen and Pernille Blume won Bronze in the 4X100M Medley relay finishing behind silver medalists, Australia, but just .01 seconds.