Amy Van Dyken-Rouen named Fiesta Bowl Parade grand marshal

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – Swimming legend Amy Van Dyken-Rouen has been named the grand marshal of the 44th Annual National Bank of Arizona Fiesta Bowl Parade.

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon.

"To be named the grand marshal is absolutely astounding to me; I am so honored, so privileged," Van Dyken-Rouen said. "It is right around the time that we're going to be launching my new foundation, Amy's Army. I know that National Bank of Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl really do a lot for the community, so to be able to have the announcement of my own foundation along with them is extremely special."

Van Dyken-Rouen is one of the most decorated American swimmers of all time. She won four gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and two more in Sydney before retiring.

She severed her spinal cord in an ATV accident in June. Since then, she has been focused on her recovery, keeping a positive attitude and promoting the mission of her charity, Amy's Army.

According to officials, each year's grand marshal is an individual or group whose vision aligns with the Fiesta Bowl's commitment to community involvement and giving.

"Van Dyken-Rouen's achievements, determination and foundation make her the ideal person to lead the 2014 parade," officials said.

The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. on Dec. 27. This year's theme is the Spirit of the Southwest.

More than 100,000 spectators are expected to line Central Avenue to watch the floats, bands, helium balloons, equestrian units, specialty groups and local celebrities. The event is free to the public with premium reserved seating available for $25.

Previous grand marshals include American heroes John Glenn and Chuck Yeager; Hall of Famers Charles Barkley, Jerry Rice and Cal Ripken Jr.; Olympic gold medalists Kristi Yamaguchi and Kerri Strug; NFL quarterback and humanitarian Kurt Warner; and the families of the 19 fallen Yarnell Hill firefighters.

For more information about the parade and all other Fiesta Bowl events, visit www.fiestabowl.org.