Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Moment: Achieving the Dream

Many athletes come to the Olympics to fulfill a lifelong dream. Some just dream of making it there. Others come for a medal. Some come for so much more. And on Saturday in China (Friday in North America), Day 7, some of those Olympic dreams came true.

Michael Phelps pulls off another win in perhaps his closest race ever of the Beijing Olympics! And one half stroke made all the difference! Serbia's Milorad Cavic was leading the race towards the end and just before he touched the wall, Phelps takes a half stroke and surges forward with his long arms to touch the wall first. He wins by 1/100th of a second!

The Serbian coach launched an official protest but reviews of the race certified that Phelps did indeed touch the wall first, winning the 100m butterfly. With that one half stroke winning the gold, Michael Phelps ties Mark Spitz record as the most golds ever won at a single Olympics.

Kirsty Coventry wins gold and sets a new world record for the 200m backstroke. The Zimbabwean swimmer beat out her former college roomate and silver medalist, US swimmer Margaret Hoelzer. Coventry has all ready won 3 silvers in the Beijing Olympics for the 200m IM, 400m IM, and the 100m backstroke. Yet, winning this race means more than earning a gold medal.

For Coventry, this gold medal means another opportunity for her fellow countrymen to put aside their differences in restless, dangerous Zimbabwe and to celebrate as one people. Even Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who takes a hard stance towards the white minority, calls Coventry Zimbabwe's "golden girl." Her gold, silver, and bronze win in Athens made Coventry a household name and hero in Zimbabwe. Her win tonight makes her a legend, winning 7 out of the 8 medals in Zimbabwe's Olympic history.

Britain's Rebecca Adlington wins the gold and sets a new world record in the women's 800m freestyle. And this time, her parents were there to watch her win. Earlier, they had been victims of internet fraud and were duped into getting fake tickets that kept them from watching her swim in a previous race she won. This is her second gold of the Beijing Olympics, having all ready won the 400m freestyle. She becomes the first British woman to ever win two swimming golds and one of five women in history to ever win both the 400m and 800m freestyle. Her win is a good omen for the London Olympic of 2012.

If Michael Phelps razor thin win tonight was the most exciting event of the evening, then the Cesar Cielo Filho had the most heartfelt and beautiful win of the day. Brazil's Cesar Cielo Filho wins the 50m freestyle. A virtual unknown, he beat out the medal favorites and pulled off a stunning surprise win! When he realized he had won the event, he broke down and cried in the pool.

Such an emotional win, the realization of an Olympic dream. It was a beautiful sight to see the raw human emotion break through. He cried again on the podium after receiving his gold medal. And in a great show of Olympic camaraderie, the emotional gold medalist is embraced by France's Amaury Leveaux (silver) and Alain Bernard (bronze). It is perhaps the best show of sportsmanship and humility from Alain Bernard since his cocky attitude got him humiliated in the 4x100m relay a few days earlier.

Filho's emotional win is what makes this an Olympic moment. With all their superhuman skills and amazing strengths, these athletes are still human. To see such an honest expression of emotional joy makes their achievements much more meaningful. That fulfillment of a lifelong dream is what makes the Olympics such a joy to watch.


  1. That's so sweet!

    I wouldn't mind having been there to comfort him.

  2. CP, Just him or all three medal winners? ;)

  3. I'm sure there's room for everyone.

    We wouldn't want anyone feeling left out. That's not what the Olympic spirit is all about.

  4. CP, I'm sure when you're busy comforting them, you'll be saying the Olympic motto: Faster! Higher! Stronger!

  5. I loved watching Alain Bernard win the 100 too after losing the relay [uh, I think that's the one he got gold in]. I missed the 50 - will have to go and find a video clip of that moment.

  6. CyberPoof could be the official Olympics comforter.

    Let him practice on you, though, before we send him over there.

  7. I'd even comfort Eddie the Eel, in case he is there.

  8. Snooze, Filho's reaction to his win was a great moment, esp. since it was expected that Bernard or Eamon Sullivan take the gold. Filho just came out of nowhere and won!

    MJ, well, I don't want to waste CP's time as I don't need any comforting right now. I'm sure he's a natural and can get started immediately. Better yet, he'll be ready to come over to Vancouver for the Winter Olympics and keep those athletes warm.

    CP, if comforting was an Olympic sport, you'd get gold!

  9. thanks but I am not entirely sure it seems like IDV is way ahead of me. He's been working the docks for years and I am brand new

  10. How sweet is Cesar Cielo!!What an expression of emotion!! I'd like to take him home!Besides the fact that he's really HOTTTT

  11. CP, never mind IDV, you've got competition from anonymous! But hey, if a virtual newbie like Fihlo can win the gold from the more experienced favorites, well, you've got a shot!

    Anonymous, that was the most moving win of Beijing Olympics! And of course he's HOTTT; he just swam the race of his life! It's going to take a while to stretch and cool back down ;)

  12. Congrats to C. Cielo! He won the very first goldn medal in swimming for his country! I am way happy for him! It was really overwhelming to see him crying as his country's anthem was playing... he's hot, patriot and sweet...
    P.S.:CP, he's not single! :( There must be someone else for us to comfort in these Olympics...:)

  13. Anonymous, well, I'm sure CP will agree that there are lots of athletes who could use some comforting ;)