“And the gold medal goes to MB Fabulous from the United States in the swimming event,” blares the announcer. “This gold medal is her fifth medal. She not only earned medals in swimming, but diving too.” I wave to the crowd as I pull myself out of the pool and blow kisses. I wave to my parents and sister. Tears stream down my face as the gold medal is placed around my neck and the national anthem thunders over the speaker system.
I wonder if this scenario or some form of it played through my young mind as I watched the Seoul Olympics. When I mention swimming my dad reminds me that during the Seoul Olympics I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer and diver. I don’t remember this dream. Probably because I crushed my love of swimming during early elementary school. It’s fuzzy, but I remember some set backs during camp swim tests. I never recovered from those set backs even though I knew how to swim from years of lessons and even earned a badge in swimming. I convinced myself I wasn’t a swimmer.
Fastforward to the Beijing Olympics. I enthusiastically watched Michael Phelps swim. Actually, I became USA’s swim team number one fan. I jumped up and down on my couch and yelled at the television in support of my team.
Inspired, I found my way back to the pool-the slow lane. In the pool, sharing it with people almost four times my age, I became the next Olympic superstar. My mind imagined the crowd in the stands on the edge of their seats cheering me on to another medal. As I came into the final stretch of my swim routine they would roar and start to chant my name. As I tagged the wall at the end of my swim routine I held my hands up in victory. The octogenarian swimmer behind me would give me a look, shake their head, and mutter, “Only in New York.”
Today as I train for the Beaver Freezer the same Olympic fantasy sometimes plays through my head. Even before I slide into the pool I give the locker room mirror a fierce look as I slide on my cap. I am a swimmer. I stop myself before I argue with the statement and add modifiers. I am swimmer. I smile. My younger self would be proud.