Amy Van Dyken narrowly missing the 1992 US Olympic team while still in high school. Swimming for Colorado State, she qualified for the 1994 World Championships, where she medalled in the 50 m freestyle (bronze), as well as with two relay squads. After victories at the 1995 Pan Pacific Championships and Pan American Games, and a world record in early 1996, Van Dyken was slated to become one of swimming’s stars at the Atlanta Olympics. She won four Olympic golds (the first US woman to achieve this in a single Olympics), earning them in the 50 m free, 100 m butterfly, and the freestyle and medley relays. She narrowly missed the podium in the 100 m freestyle, coming home in fourth. Despite bouts with injury, Van Dyken added to her prize cabinet at the 1998 Worlds, winning three golds (50 m free plus two relay golds). In Sydney Van Dyken added two golds to her tally in the relays, while placing fourth in the 50 m freestyle.
Although later honored with induction into the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Van Dyken was a somewhat controversial swimmer, who spit into the lanes of her opponents on occasion. In 2003 she was interrogated as a client of BALCO in the steroids scandal, which involved many high profile athletes, such as athlete Marion Jones and baseball player Barry Bonds, although Van Dyken was never directly implicated in PED usage. Van Dyken married American football player Tom Rouen, long-time player for the Denver Broncos, with whom he won the Super Bowl twice.
Van Dyken became a popular media personality in her home state of Colorado. She served as host of several radio and television sports programs and she and her husband became very involved in charitable work. She also coached the varsity swim team at Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Scottsdale, Arizona for a time.
In June 2014 Van Dyken was injured in an ATV accident which severely damaged her spinal cord and initial reports were that she would remain paralyzed with a severed spinal cord at the T11 level, despite decompression and stabilizing surgery. However, showing the determination and spirit she had shown in her athletic career, she vowed to fight this and overcome it, and in mid-August 2014 Van Dyken actually was able to walk with braces and a walker, something which many thought would never happen. Her story has been an emotional one bringing inspiration to many spinal cord injured patients.