Golden moments and personal bests

We arrived home from the lake shortly after Kyle Shewfelt had captured the first gold medal of the Olympics for Canada.
Every day since the opening day of the Olympics, I have awakened to the results from the previous day’s competition hopeful that a Canadian athlete would strike gold for Canada.
I have followed the swimming for more than a decade ever since my eldest son was a competitive swimmer. In fact, he had swam against one of Canada’s male swimmers in this year’s field.
I also had officiated at meets where several members of Canada’s Olympic women’s team had competed. I was cheering for them.
I was there rooting for our swimmers, and divers. But like most Canadians, I kept feeling let down by their performances. Even when we came fourth, it seemed like a miss.
When Canadians posted their personal bests, that, too, did not seem to make the mark. I knew as a parent how my sons felt so proud of a personal best in swimming or accomplishing a move in gymnastics.
I began watching the women’s tower diving later Sunday and the difference between first and 10th in timing was so minuscule. The men’s four rowing team missed by less than a few inches.
It, too, was the difference between gold and silver, with neither the British nor the Canadian team knowing who had won.
As each Canadian missed their medal, the media had predicted it must have created more pressure on the performance of those still left to compete in Athens.
I wonder who among us can achieve the personal best or the world best on any given day. The competitors are our heroes and heroines. They have sacrificed careers, family time, and put their lives on hold to represent our country.
They all begin their careers in small towns and cities across the country.
As our fall season of athletics begins, we could be seeing the beginning career of a judo star, or gymnast, or runner, or swimmer, or skater that will take them to the Olympics.

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