Can you imagine being ranked 12th in the world at anything? 12th best in baseball or basketball or football or soccer or NASCAR or golf? 12th most money? 12th fastest swimmer on the planet?
Now imagine being the 12th best and having the ability to turn it on when a lot of others drop out. Imagine having the ability to beat the guys who are ranked 10th, 9th, 8th, etc in the world when they are up on the blocks next to you because you know how to turn it on.
Finally, imagine being ranked 12th in the world in 2003 and placing second at World Championships that year. Winning your country’s Olympic Trials and finishing the race over half a second beneath the Official Olympic Qualifying standard and yet being denied a place on your country’s Olympic team because a self described ”unathletic” paper pusher decides that the Olympic qualifying standard in the 50 meter freestyle for his country alone should be 22.42 when the actual Olympic qualifying time is 22.7. Read more
Swimming is my line of work – only it really doesn’t pay very well.
In 1999 I was told I would never compete at an elite level again because of the diabetes I was diagnosed with. Because I learned to manage the disease that could kill me and because of sponsorship support from diabetes focused companies, I was put in a position that enabled me to win four more Olympic medals and today I remain among the fastest swimmers in the world. Ironically, if it weren’t for diabetes – I wouldn’t be able to continue swimming today.
Most swimmers stop competing because they can no longer financially afford to stay in the sport or their shoulders were blown out by overzealous college and age group coaches. Fact is, all people are physically (barring injury)and mentally stronger at 30 than they are at 20. If swimmers and other athletes are given a chance to swim to an ”older” age they will certainly compete at a higher level. I actually believe that a new crop of champions will blossom. Read more