Sunday, August 12, 2012
So, it is time for another Olympics to come to a close and whilst Australia didn't do quite as well as we'd hoped, it has been a great Olympics with inspirational stories. I, of course, like to focus on the stories of the women because that is where I find my inspiration.
There is Erin Densham, the gutsy bronze medallist in the triathlon. She gave it absolutely everything and was totally amazing considering she had been pulled from the water 3 years ago whilst competing in a triathlon and was diagnosed with a heart condition. She recovered and fought her way back. I love a fighter and she had a truly wonderful race.
Then there is Anna Meares, our wonderful track cyclist. She was our youngest woman ever to win gold in Athens and then 7 months out she fractured a vertebrae in her neck and sustained other injuries in the fall and then went on to win a silver medal in Beijing - that was sensational. She is held very close in our hearts and when she won gold in the sprint - well, really, how can you not be inspired by someone who was knocked down but got back up again and continued to compete.
Then there is my favourite medal of the games. Sally Pearson's gold medal in the 110m hurdles. There is not a nicer, more down to earth woman going around than this tenacious pocket rocket. She has long been a favourite of JourneyMan's and mine, we have seen her race at Stawell on a number of occasions. After the debacle in the pool, she was our only world champ on the athletics track and the pressure landed on her hard. I admire her greatly, she didn't shy away from it, without ego, she just said that she would do her best and hopefully everyone would be behind her at the end. I was worried because it is a tough event, all you have to do is clip a hurdle and your dreams are over. Sally absorbed the unbelievable pressure on her and ran perfectly won gold. I cried when she won - she was fabulous!!
I love sport, I love the wonderful stories that can be found there. When the Commonwealth Games were in Melbourne, I went with JourneyMan and all of my family to the athletics. It was the day in which the women's marathon was run and as the two runners ran into the MCG for the final lap, an Australian woman, Kerryn McCann was in front, just. The roar from the 90,000 strong crowd was amazing - I had never experienced anything like it before or since. The last 400m was practically a sprint and even though the Kenyan runner got in front, Kerryn dug deep and kicked away in the last 200m. This was a 38 year old mother of two children who had just won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games - she was amazing and it was a truly legendary moment in Australian sport. A year later, whilst pregnant with her 3rd child, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and died a year after that.
She has always been an inspiration to me, I have always wanted to run a marathon but knew I would have to wait until after I had finished having my own family, the treatments are just too taxing. The fact that she competed at the highest level (she finished 11th at the Sydney Olympics), went on to have a family and then won a gold medal at the Commonwealth games make be believe that one day I will be able to finish a marathon. Obviously, I won't be competing, I am a terrible runner, I just would like to complete one.
Sports stories usually tell me that, most of the time, you have to fail to win. Winners are the ones that keep getting up when they are knocked down. Of course, we can all relate to failing in our IF world. TTC the normal way, IUI's, IVF, donor cycles, surrogates, miscarriages - all of us can relate to having to picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off over and over again. I like to see people who have struggled, triumphant. I have been lucky and have experienced that triumph in my journey. I hope that all of you who are reading have experienced it too.
I still tear up thinking of Kerryn and the day she had her 'greatest race ever' - I am proud to have been a very small part of it. Now that another Olympics is closing, I always have that mix of sadness and joy - I love it as a sporting event and I just love the stories. I will not forget Erin, Sally and Anna - I love inspirational women and these are three of the best. Bye London, I look forward to seeing all the action and stories from Rio.