The Path to the Olympics
Ahhh summer. The time to go for camping trips and baseball games, canoe down a lazy river, or just plant yourself in front of the TV and watch the Olympics. London 2012, baby!!! 😀 For a travel nut like myself, I’ve always been curious about the journeys people take. Then what could be more fascinating than the journeys some Olympians took to get to the games?
For instance, what about Khatuna Lorig (USA, Archery)? Her Olympic career has covered shooting for multiple countries! Originally born in the Republic of Georgia, she shot for the Unified Team (Soviet Union, under the Olympic Flag) in 1992. Georgia was her next flag in 1996 and 2000. She wasn’t a naturalized citizen yet in 2004, but by 2008, she was competing for the USA. However, during that match, her hometown in Tiblisi was being invaded by the Russians. Imagine trying to compete under that pressure! She returned under the US team again this year and got 4th place.
Next, what about the “Blade Runner,” Oscar Pistorius (South Africa, Sprint)? Born without fibulas, he had both legs amputated at the knee when he was one. In college, he played several sports, until a rugby injury & subsequent rehab got him into running. After a successful time in the Paralympics, he set his sights on attending the Games with able-bodied runners. A hotly-disputed scientific study initially banned him from the Olympics due to a percieved advantage he had from his carbon fibre “legs.” It was overturned in 2008, but he failed to qualify for that years Games. This year, he not only qualified, but made it to the 400m semi-finals, becoming the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games. In a moving display, he and the winner, Kirani James, traded bibs at the end of the race.
I’m out of space for more stories today, but let’s hear more from you! What’s your favorite story about an Olympic athlete?