Richard John Carey (born March 13, 1963) is an American former competition swimmer, three-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in three events. Carey specialized in the backstroke. At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, he won three gold medals. He broke nine world records, five individually, and also was a double world champion. He was named as the Swimmer of the Year in 1983 by Swimming World magazine.
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Carey was selected to make his international debut at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, but had to withdraw when the American team boycotted the Olympics due to the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. In 1981 Carey was the American champion in both the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke, setting a national record in the latter, after moving to the University of Texas at Austin to train under Eddie Reese. In 1982 he collected gold in the 200-meter backstroke and 4x100-meter medley relay, and silver in the 100-meter backstroke at the World Championships in Guayaguil, Ecuador.
In 1983, Carey set world records of 55.38 seconds in the 100-meter and 1:58.93 in the 200-meter backstroke, breaking marks set in 1976 by John Naber. At the Pan American Games that year in Caracas, Venezuela, he lowered the 100-meter record to 55.19 seconds and he also won the 200-meter event. He also broke the world record in the 4x100-meter medley relay, along with Steve Lundquist, Matt Gribble and Rowdy Gaines, all of whom were world record-holders in their respective strokes. This earned him the Swimmer of the Year award.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics, he won both backstroke events and again was part of the winning medley relay team. Carey created a minor controversy after his victory in the 200-meter backstroke, when despite winning Olympic gold, he appeared noticeably unhappy about having failed to break his own world record time. He later apologized and responded much more positively to his 100-meter win, despite the fact that it too fell short of his own world record. He continued to win events at a national level thereafter, retiring in 1986.
According to his Linked-In profile, Carey now works for JP Morgan in London.
He was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an "Honor Swimmer" in 1993.
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