12-time Olympic medalist Jenny Thompson, an American superstar who was a fixture on swimming podiums in the 1990s and early 2000s, has become an anesthesiologist since hanging up her suit for good, and currently, her and her co-workers are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
Amid the global pandemic, Thompson and her colleagues are working on the front lines with infected patients in South Carolina. As critical care doctors trained in the last week, they are in need of protective gear and thus far have been scrambling to piece together purchases on their own.
Upon learning about the situation, Thompson’s friends, Lea Maurer and Gabrielle Rose, have launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for Thompson and her co-workers.
“Our friend Jenny Thompson is an anesthesiologist in SC,” Maurer and Rose said in an email. “She and her front line colleagues need protective gear. You likely cheered for her in the Olympics. There are so many deserving folks in need right now, please consider giving to Jenny and SC front line workers.”
Per the GoFundMe description, donations will go directly towards securing N95 masks, goggles, gloves, protective shoe covers, visors with face shields, gowns and Tyvek full-body suits with hoods.
As of the publication of this article, the fundraiser has raised $3,380 out of its $20,000 goal.
Thompson, now 47, won eight Olympic gold medals — two in Barcelona, three in Atlanta and three in Sydney — and added three silver and two bronze medals over the course of her career. All of her golds came on American relays, while the Stanford grad also had an individual silver in the 100 free in Barcelona, and an individual bronze in the same event in Sydney.
She currently holds the distinction of having won the most career Olympic medals by an American woman (tied with Dara Torres and Natalie Coughlin, but is technically ahead with more golds) and previously was the most decorated American Olympian overall before being surpassed by Michael Phelps.
Thompson also won seven Long Course World Championship titles, 11 Short Course World Championship titles, a staggering 25 Pan Pac gold medals, and set individual world records in the long course 100 free, 100 fly, and the short course 50 fly, 100 fly and 100 IM.
The Danvers, Mass., native received her medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2006.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases in the United States reached 43,449 on Monday, with 545 deaths. In South Carolina specifically, there have been 297 confirmed cases, tying it for 18th highest in the country with North Carolina.