Melvin Monroe ("Mel") Stewart (born 16 November 1968 in Gastonia, North Carolina) is an Olympic swimming hero who won two gold medals and one bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and a talented filmmaker with a growing interest in open water swimming. He is the creator and personality of Gold Medal Mel and has filmed, narrated and produced dramatic television programs on the RCP Tiburon Mile. He has created SwimSwam.
RCP Tiburon Mile
Stewart was the prominent 200m butterfly swimmer of his era. A 14-time national champion, he won the 200 m event at the 1991 World Championships in Perth, defeating Hall of Famers Michael Gross of Germany and Tamás Darnyi of Hungary. Next year he became the gold medalist at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in Olympic record time, 1:56.26. Stewart, the world-record holder since 1991, won a second gold as a preliminary heat member of the 4×100m medley relay and a bronze on the 4×200m freestyle relay.
In his first Olympic Games at Seoul in 1988, he was placed fifth in the 200m butterfly. Stewart held the world record at 1:55.69 from 1991 to 1995 when it was broken by Denis Pankratov of Russia.
It all began for Stewart in 1974. Under the direction of Coach Frankie Bell at the Johnston Memorial YMCA pool in Charlotte, North Carolina, he won National YMCA titles. Bell taught him stroke technique and built his love for the sport, motivating the already inspired youngster with a banana split every time he won. By age 10, he was ranked among the top 10 in the nation in his age group in sixteen events and became the most famous butterfly side-breather of all time.
He won the 200m butterfly at the Goodwill Games of 1986, 1990 and 1994, and at the Pan Pacific Championships of 1987, 1989 and 1991. While at Tennessee, he won two NCAA titles in the 200m butterfly.
Stewart holds the record in United States Swimming for winning the most national championships (14) in one event (200m butterfly).
After failing to qualify for the 1996 Olympic Team, Stewart began to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. He appeared in plays, movies and television shows. He served as an ABC Sports field reporter, hosted ESPN’s “American Outback” and appeared in several films. Stewart has written several films, including a new version of the Lee Falk's The Phantom (called The Ghost Who Walks).
He is currently an ambassador to the United States Swimming Foundation and hosts the show 'Gold Medal Mel'. He lives with his wife, Tiffany, and daughter, Bayley.