PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – She did not initially realize she had a future in the pool.
“When I was swimming at 5 years old, I thought it was really hard,” Melanie Margalis told 8 On Your Side’s Gabrielle Shirley. “Then, school started. I started kindergarten. I told my mom, ‘Swimming and kindergarten are too hard and I cannot do both at the same time,’ so I had to quit swimming! I did not restart until I was 10 years old.”
Margalis, who was raised in Clearwater, is now an Olympic gold medalist. She won the medal in the 800-meter freestyle relay in Rio in 2016.
“Yes, it is pretty crazy! I mean still people will call me an Olympic gold medalist,” said Margalis, “and I am like, ‘What?’”
She actually got the Olympic rings tattooed on her forearm in Ybor City about one week after she returned home from Rio.
Now, Margalis is training to qualify for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“Obviously, I would really like to qualify again,” she said. “You really never know at Olympic Trials. It is such a crazy meet but I would really like to qualify and get an individual medal this time.”