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Saturday, July 28, 2012
Mag Minute: Swimmer Natalie Coughlin

By ESPN The Magazine

Natalie Coughlin only knows Olympic success. She became the first woman to win six medals in one Olympics in Beijing in 2008 and has won a medal in every Olympic event she has entered -- three gold, four silver and four bronze.

Natalie Coughlin
Natalie Coughlin would pick Reese Witherspoon to play her in a film.
Coughlin, one medal short of becoming the most decorated female Olympian in U.S. history, has a shot at the record as part of the 4x100-meter freestyle relay team, her only event in London.

She also was recently featured in her own "This is SportsCenter" commercial, guarding her gold from the Notre Dame Leprechaun. ESPN The Magazine caught up with Coughlin recently to ask her a few offbeat questions. Here's what transpired:

Natalie Coughlin

Age: 29

Hometown: Vallejo, Calif.

College: University of California, Berkeley

What’s the one thing you always have with you?

Lip stain with SPF. That’s such a girlie thing.

What’s the most embarrassing music in your iPod?

I have a lot. I like teeny-bopper music. I love Britney Spears. I went to a couple of her concerts in high school.

Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

Reese Witherspoon. She’s older than me, though. And she’s small, but she did play a softball player [in "How Do You Know"].

If you were a talk show host, who would be your first celebrity guest?

Debbie Mazur. We became friends on "Dancing With the Stars," and she is absolutely crazy and nice and unpredictable and funny and tough, and I absolutely love her.

Which living person do you most admire?

Alice Waters. She is the chef and founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley. She started the Edible Schoolyard program in Berkeley. Every school has a garden that the kids take care of. It’s a great way to introduce kids to health and wellness, and I recently started volunteering there. I’m part of the Wednesday Weeders. I weeded raspberry canes last weekend.

What are your irrational fears?

I really hate spiders. If I see a spider, my husband has to get rid of it. No matter what time of day it is.

Which game show would you most like to be on?

I recently got into "Celebrity Apprentice." I got sucked into this season with Lou Ferrigno and Adam Carolla. I don’t know if I could handle the sleep deprivation, though. It looks brutal.

What was your best Halloween costume ever?

Two years ago, after the Giants won the World Series, I went as a bandwagon fan. I glued a beard to my face and wore an A’s cap with the logo crossed out and duct tape on it with "Giants" written on it. And I pulled a Radio Flyer wagon around with me. I thought it was funny, but a lot of people didn’t get it.