MY WORLD last week included sitting on the sofa and getting swept up in the Olympic magic in London. Enthralled with the drama of all the athletes, I was mesmerized with the Michael Phelps saga as it unfolded live through my television screen on Wednesday. I started taking pictures that are not the best in clarity but still manage to convey the emotions of the moment.
The Phelps story is universal and speaks volumes about how dreams can become reality. Here he is getting ready to jump into the water in a breathless leap of faith with a slightly shaken confidence.
He took a chance competing in this Olympics and not resting on his laurels, especially since he had taken some significant time off after 2008 from a gruelling practice regime. He once said you become a champion by doing what other people don't want to do.
Previously he had practiced seven days a week without missing a beat for an accumulated twenty years. No doubt his heart wasn't in it on a lot of those days but he did it anyway. Now he had to prove himself again and risk failure.
There is also the element of fate where no matter how much practicing you do, some inexplicable thing happens and you stumble and fall in front of the whole world with cameras blazing. Something you have done really well many times before boils down to those few seconds when you win or lose.
The country you represent sits heavily on your shoulders. Yet the wind blows at your back sometimes and you surprise even yourself with unexpected success.
Phelps nearly missed qualifying for the final races of 2012. He squeaked by with a slim margin. But now realizing he achieved his 19th medal when his relay team won the gold, he looked like a dragon slayer in the pool.
After the initial moments boyish relief was written all over his face.
Then there was the joyful coming together of the American team that helped pivot him and them into history.
His mom watched ... ecstatic, proud and also relieved because she probably nudged him when he wasn't so certain about competing in 2012.
It would be impossible not to say a thankful prayer to the universe for allowing it to go so swimmingly well after a rocky start.
This shared victory was not just for one man but a country, although Phelps has more medals than most countries competing at the Olympics.
Historically this 19th medal meant Phelps exceeded the number won by any one person. He subsequently won 3 more bringing the total to 22 for the US from 2004 to 2012. Previously, Ukrainian gymnast Larisa Latynina had the highest number, winning 18 medals from 1956 to 1964 for the Soviet Union.
In the end, it is about talent, luck and a willingness to work extremely hard chasing rainbows to get that pot of gold. The NBC logo (pictured above) reminds me I have NBC and CTV to thank for a chance to view the peaks and valleys of all the Olympic journeys from the comfort of my couch in BC.
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Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms
See scenes from BC at Penelope Puddlisms: BC Life Is A Whale Of A Ride.