I had just sat down to lunch when they switched to the men’s 1500 meter freestyle.
I did a double-take.
The digital World Record line that they use to mark the swim was in the middle of the tv screen.
There was a swimmer at the far left edge of the screen and he was first.
Waitwaitwait...he can’t be first. Is that for real? He has to be a straggler.
But he wasn’t. Sun Yang from China was breaking the world record.
The silver medalist came in 9 seconds afterwards.
I had to study his stroke. Definitely not as many revolutions as his 100 m counterparts. Definitely calmer looking. Definitely three body lengths ahead of the next fastest competitor.
And definitely kicking some Olympic ass.
As he cried upon seeing the dream that every Olympian dreams of seeing “New World Record”, I wondered how many times he had to train through birthdays, holidays, vacations. I wondered how many off-days he had, when he didn’t even want to get out of bed because he fucking didn’t want to.
I wondered how many times he came close to throwing in the towel.
He has probably thought it. But judging by the fact that he had a gold medal and had shaved an already impossible number of seconds off the world record, I don’t think he followed through with it.
Twenty years old. I want to be like him when I grow up.