Friday, August 22, 2008

Heroes

Like a lot of people out there, I’ve been following the Olympics when time permits.

So many amazing stories have come out of it. Stories of dedication rewarded. Michael Phelps winning a gazzilion gold medals. Wins driven from years of daily training, early mornings and complete devotion and focus.

Definitely hero potential. Here is someone who has known what he wants for a long time and worked ridiculously hard to get it.

But the hero of the games for me, and the one who’ll somehow end up as inspiration for a character, is Eric Lamaze, the Canadian show jumper who won gold. He was banned from the Olympics for at least eight years for testing positive for cocaine. He admits to using frequently, to being a total screw up.

His beginnings were hard. His mother was a drug user, he never knew his father, he was a street kid for a while and no where ever close to rich, and yet, through a deep affinity for horses found his way into show jumping.

And screwed it all up for at least twelve years. And was written off.

And then got his head together, found his focus, his dedication and won the gold.

Love it and to me, far more interesting than the kid who always had that dedication, and focus.

Now I have to go back to watching the Olympics.

9 comments:

Kristin said...

Wow! I'm so sad I missed this great story...

Reading your little post made me think that an Olympian might be good fodder for a romance. Dedication to the sport or dedication to falling in love? And how the trials of both could derail either one.

Hmm.....

Time enough to write it and get it published in 2012!

Sinead M said...

2012 is perfect timing... then you can add in the other aspect I read about, which is apprently there is more sex per capita happening in the athletes village than anywhere else in the world..

Kristin said...

Really? Hmm, I guess all these perfect athletic specimens could get the old hormones revved up. Most athletes of this caliber are in the prime of their lives. I could believe that.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I saw an interview with him and he was alluding to this past but nobody was going into any detail and I was dying to know what it was -- cocaine!!?? Wow. What a come back story. Phelps is amazing - but I loved the story in the paper about his calorie intake. 12,000 a day. That's inspiring.

You know I think between the stress, the 24 hour proximity and how freaking amazing everyone looks -- the shagging makes sense. Have I said when I come back I am coming back as an Olympic diver? Wow.

Sinead M said...

Me, I'm coming back as a beach volleyball player...
comeplete with the little bikini

Kristin said...

I don't know those rhythmic gymnasts are frickin' incredible. Their flexibility freaks me out...and they don't have to be muscular like a regular gymnast. Just a dancer's body.

I'll come back as one of those, please.

Abby said...

Athletes sound like neat heroes but you can also see, in that kind of dedication, that their sport would come first before everything, including family.

You don't win gold by doing it as a hobby. You win gold by training day in and day out, travelling to championships, pushing yourself harder and harder. You don't lose a race and go home to your kids and relax. You train even more.

I don't think a romance could compete with that. (and I'm differentiating sex from romance here, of course!)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Stopping by from backspace! I have missed all of the Olympics this year, but I was "pulling for" the forty-year-old swimmer!

Stephanie Doyle said...

I'm in agreement with Molly. People with amazing bodies, totally focused, with tremendous energy - let loose with other hot, focused, high energy people.

It's like a soup cauldron for sex.

For me - Loved Phelps! - and I will use him as material because there are flaws there too.

But I also loved this old aging Russian diver. He looked like he was 50 - probably 35 which is upsetting - but he ended his 20 something career with one final dive and an awkward wave to the crowd.

The life he'd known over in 1.2 seconds. He finished either 6 or 7th. Always good, never great. But he kept going.

I want to know his story too.

Steph

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