Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wonder Boy, Wonder Mom and Wonder Woman

He did it! He lived up to all the hype. He rose up under unbelievable pressure to become the most decorated Olympian of all time. That's an almost super-human accomplishment. How did he do it?

He wasn't alone.

The story I've been watching for the past two weeks has not just been in the pool. The story I have been watching has been up in the stands. The story has been sitting in three metal seats night after night and their names are Debbie, Hilary and Whitney.

Let me be honest. It's true I stayed up late to watch Michael's final relay last night but I what I REALLY wanted to see was Michael's Mom and two sisters.

Night after night, I have watched them cheering him on, crying under the pressure, their voices becoming more and more hoarse day by day. I have cheered with them, been proud for them and cried with them when they've cried. When Michael's Mom dropped to her knees and melted under her seat last night, I melted too. They are my people. They are a family from Baltimore, traveling to Beijing to support and help their brother. What an unbelievable moment for them.

And Michael, well, he completely won my heart on the first night of swimming. Upon getting out of the pool after winning his first gold medal, a news reporter was in his face asking about the race and he's saying... "Where's my Mom? I can't even see her out there? Where are they sitting? Geez, I wish I could see my Mom..."

I love this picture of Michael and his mom and all it says about them.

And, the story doesn't end with Michael.

There's Dara Torres. All I can say is WOW!

I really haven't had any sports heroes in my life. I mean, not where I would actually hang their picture up on my inspiration board and want to emulate. That was true until Dara Torres came along. Heroes aren't just for kids anymore, they're for us too. And, I'm claiming one.

I'm 43 years old, a mother and I swim. She's 40 years old, a mother and she swims and wins Olympic medals. Here is a fabulous article about her and her unique perspective in the all-too-often, youth-filled Olympic games.

I leave you with this quote from Dara, this Olympian, this Mom. When asked what her 12 olympic medals might mean to someone like me, she said...
"If this helps anyone out there who is in their middle-aged years and has put off what they wanted to do because they thought they were too old or because they have a child, and that they can't balance what they want to do with being a parent, then that's great. What I've done is show them that they can do it."


Debra said...

It's been just great watching both of these fine athletes. I pedalled so hard last night that I thought maybe I should tape the Olympics for every night! It's been incredible and heartwarming at the same time.

Mougey Family said...

Great blog on athletes and their support team, FAMILY. It is the truth and such a wonderful support team does not usually get recognized. I have been amazed by many mothers in their 40's this year, Olympian or not (Maura and Laura). You captured the gold. - Bonnie

Pigtown-Design said...

I had tickets to the ravens game on saturday but gave them away because i didn't want to miss the final race. i wish i had been at the stadium when they played the race there.

Two great athletes. Soooo proud of them both, but especially Michael.

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