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Natalie du Toit came 16th in the women's 10K marathon swim at the Olympics - 1.22 behind the gold medalist Larissa Ilchenko of Russia.So what, I hear some of you say; look at what Michael Phelps did. I was, and continue to be enthralled by Phelps' achievements, but I'm equally inspired by du Toit. The South African swimmer had her left leg amputated at the knee as a result of a car crash in 2001 when she was training for the 2004 Games.She wasn't a distance swimmer, but started training for the swim marathon a year ago in pursuit of her Olympic dream.The (recorded) race will be shown on TV tonight, and I will watch it with awe.Du Toit will compete in the Paralmypics at the shorter distances. She decided to swim in the Beijing Games because the Paralympics don't have the marathon 10K swim.I still wonder how and why some people succumb to horrific challenges in their lives while others rise above them like duToit?

Comments

devobrun 6 years, 4 months ago

An aroused bear can run 25 MPH. A man chased by an aroused bear can run 26 MPH.She did what she had to do. Few people ever find themselves in the situation of simply having no other choice. She chose to live. It is simple, but difficult.

Ronda Miller 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree this will be worth watching and cheering for, Eileen.As far as your question on people succumbing or rising, the answer to that lies in each individual's beating heart and thinking brain. I believe it has to do with attitude, choice, desire, responsibility, drive, support, previous life experience and outcome, etc., etc., etc.,However, there is no wrong way for someone to handle a tragedy - it is what it is, we are what and who we are.

David Klamet 6 years, 4 months ago

The emphasis by the media on those who win multiple golds, and now make millions, of dollars is not as compelling as the stories like these.I couldn't remember the Olympic creed, so I looked it up. Those who Eileen mentioned are the ones who truly live it. "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

eileenroddy 6 years, 4 months ago

Cancer survivor, Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands, won Olympic gold in the men's 10k open water swim earlier today.He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001, had stem cell implants, and returned to swimming in 2003. He spends a lot of his time (when not training and swimming) raising money for cancer research.Van der Weijden, du Toit, and others like them are an inspiration to me.

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