Jessica Hardy is a swimmer competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for the USA.

Jessica Hardy's second crack crack at qualifying for an Olympics was much smoother than four years ago. At the 2012 Trials, she started the week by coming up short in what she considered her best event — the 100m breaststroke — but rebounded nicely a few days later to win the 50m and 100m freestyle. She'll swim those races in London, plus the 4x100m freestyle relay and most likely the medley relay. In 2008, she qualified for the 2008 Games but was forced to give up her roster spot after failing a drug test for the banned substance clenbuterol (see below). She was eventually cleared of wrongdoing, but the near two-year ordeal took its toll on her.

Hardy has excelled since her return to swimming, and her double-gold performance at the 2010 Pan-Pacific Championships proved she is ready and able to compete with the top international athletes. In 2011, Hardy won the 50m breaststroke and finished second in the 400m freestyle relay at the World Championships. Days later at the U.S. Championships, Hardy took gold in the 100m breaststroke.

Shortly after qualifying for the 2008 Olympic team, Hardy learned she had tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance that causes, among other benefits, an increase in aerobic capacity. Hardy flatly denied taking the drug, saying she must have ingested it through a tainted supplement. She was banned for a year and returned with a vengeance, breaking two world records at the 2009 U.S. Open. That fall, she broke her 50m breaststroke world record four times on the FINA World Cup circuit, eventually winning the overall series title.

In May 2010 the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the one-year suspension Hardy had already served, shooting down the World Anti-Doping Agency's bid to add another year to her ban. In April 2011, Hardy was told she would be eligible to qualify for — and compete at — the London Olympics. The CAS ultimately ruled in Hardy's favor, concluding she had ingested clenbuterol through a tainted supplement. "I'm not caught up on it, but it's definitely motivation," Hardy says. "I've had a lifelong goal of being an Olympian and this year I feel nothing but excited about the opportunity I have in front of me."

Hardy grew up playing many sports but focused mainly on water polo. She only quit in favor of swimming when she got her driver's license at 16, enabling her to commute to train with Novaquatics. She was a bit star struck at her first practice, swimming alongside Olympians Lenny Krayzelburg, Aaron Peirsol and Amanda Beard. Her younger sister decided to stick with water polo and is now a member of the junior national team.

When Hardy swam at 2004 Olympic Trials at age 17, it was only her second national meet. Hardy finished fifth in a stacked 100m breast field, a result with which she was happy, having started swimming seriously only a year before. Though she says she felt out of her element, it made her hungry for more success.

One year later, Hardy broke the world record in the semifinals of the 100m breast at the 2005 Worlds. She went on to take silver in the final behind the current world-record holder, Australian Leisel Jones. Hardy won the 50m breast at the 2007 Worlds for her first world title.

A self-described mellow person, Hardy calls herself a "typical southern California girl," and enjoys going to the beach to relax. She goes surfing several times a year but says she's not very good. Hardy has three Abyssinian cats named King Tut, Zeus and Caliente.


How tall is she? How old is she? Where does she live? Find out here.

Age: 30 years old
Birthday: March 12, 1987
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 152 lbs.
Birthplace: Orange, CA
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA

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