Interestingly enough the US Olympic swimming trials took place and with the much precedented presence and furore surrounding the acclaim of the athletes. In particular that of Michael Phelps, Dana Torres and the others who’ll have aspirations of making it to Beijing to represent the US at the upcoming games. The fulfillment was there for many of these athletes.
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps seen here posing for a display that features team members of the US Olympic swim team. picture courtesy of getty images/Jeb Jacobsohn……
Years of training and dedication has been put to the test of finally garnering a berth on the Olumpic team. And once having attained a berth much of the celebration can begin. And for these athletes that is when the acclaim for them also takes on a new meaning altogether as it’ll take on a new meaning for each athlete. Phelps whose talent is unquestioned will be trying to usurp the medal tally garnered by Munich Olympian Mark Spitz. Spitz’s seven gold medals and the world records that went with each are the things that legends are made of. Phelps is the pre-eminent swimmer in the world . And were it not for the retirement of Australian Ian Thorpe the challenges facing Phelps in Beijing would be greater ones.
Dara Torres seen here during the US Olympic swim trials in Omaha , Nebraska . Torres seen here won the 100m freestyle at the trials. However it may well not be the event that she chooses to compete in at the games having qualified several events overall. picture courtesy of afp/photos/………………
For his counterpart Dara Torres it’s something of a rebirth for the forty one year old mother . She will be upon the commencemnent of these games the oldest female ever to represent the US in swimming. This will be her fifth Olympics that she’ll have competed in , having first made the US team as a seventeen year old in 1984. She would then compete again for the US in 1988,1992, 2000 and in these upcoming games of 2008.
Torres competing in the 100m freestyle heats at the US Olympic trials in Omaha , Nebraska. picture courtesy of images.google.com/sports/swimming/olympicstrials ………….
Torres for her part has proven that despite her age she’s more than capable of competing against her female counterparts who are in some cases less than half her age. And at the same time she has proven to be much quicker as a competitor than she was when she first represented her country. The years have passed but it’d appear that they’ve been kind to Torres and her yearning to to compete at the highest echelons of the sport goes unabated.
Eric Shanteau competing in the 200m breastroke at the US Olympic trials in Omaha , Nebraska. Shanteau was diagnosed with testicular cancer and he’s sought to forego treatment in terms of chemotherapy until after the games. However he’ll be constantly monitored by the team’s doctors and his own physician whilst in Beijing. picture courtesy of swimmingworldmagazine.com …………..
For many of the swimmers this may well be their one and only time that they’ll ever get to compete in such an event. As it’s not often that many will get a second chance to compete in multiple games. The pressure to qualify and then the competition itself may well be too arduous for some. One swimmer who now seems to be facing that dilemma is Eric Shanteau who having gained a berth on the swim team now has a decision to make that’ll affect his life irrevocably for years to come. Shanteau prior to the trials was diagnosed with testicular cancer by his doctor and an oncologist. To that end treatment will have to be ongoing for the swimmer who qualified in the 200m breastroke and 200m individual medley at the trials and is considered to be one of the young bright hopes on this Olympic swim team.
University of Texas Longhorn and Olympic qualifier Eric Shanteau . picture courtesy of metromedianews.com/sports/swimming/eric shanteau ………………
The greater glory is compete for your country and show one’s allegiance. But for Shanteau this may well be a risk that is far too great to bear . He can compete knowing that his body will be ravaged by the cancer or he can make the choice not to compete and forego the glory and all that it entails. Choices are made but there those that are far too precious to ignore when it concerns that of your health. Shanteau for his part has chosen not to heed the advice of his medical advisors . Because he feels that can compete with this impediment. Something that others feel might be too much to bare for an individual no matter how valiant the effort is.