Amy Van Dyken won six Olympic gold medals as a swimmer. When it comes to storing them, she prefers the practical approach.

"I used to have the first four gold medals framed," Van Dyken says. "But then I won the other two, and they were lonely. So then I took them all down, and I keep them in a backpack in a closet -- but let me explain: When I go talk to kids, I like to bring them and show them.

"It's like the Bat Phone, right? I get the call, I grab the medals, we're out."

After winning four golds at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and two more in Sydney, Van Dyken worked in sports media and eventually hosted a national show on Fox Sports Radio. Then in 2014, an ATV accident severed her spinal column, and she was paralyzed from the waist down. But Van Dyken maintained her devotion to CrossFit after the accident. In July, she competed for the first time in the WheelWOD Games, considered the top-level event in adaptive fitness, and captured second place.

Amy Van Dyken

That performance is one reason why Van Dyken is this year's recipient of the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award, which recognizes "an individual who has served as a powerful force for good in society, inspiring others by contributing to a better world, uniting people or leading a cause."

Owens' grandson, Stuart Rankin, presented the trophy to her at the Team USA Awards show, which was recorded at Universal Studios in Hollywood and will be televised by NBC at 2 p.m. ET December 22.

"He transcended sport, and that was the first time it had really been done," she says of Owens. "I'm honored to be named in the same sentence as him."

Check out the video above for Van Dyken's most memorable Olympic moment. Partial spoiler: It didn't happen in the pool.

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