Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Crowds and Medal Glory

Crowds at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park for the canoeing competition have not been sold out, but the lack of a full-capacity crowd has not put a damper on the excitement for the athletes, fans, coaches, friends and family members in attendance.

With over 30,000 seats available for the canoeing stadium, it would be difficult to fill it up every day of competition.

But, when the winners cross the finish line, exuberation often knows no bounds. Toga's Benjamin Boukpeti won his country's first Olympic medal in the K-1 canoeing competition. After the race, he was so happy he broke his paddle.

If Chloe Sutton wins the women's Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, will her feeder Paul Asmuth break her feeding stick in joy? If Mark Warkentin wins the men's race, will his coach John Dussliere break his feeding stick after the race?

Probably not.

Definitely not.

John custom-made the feeding sticks for the American team out of a golf-ball retriever - and they are working out just fine.

Whoever wins, the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame should request the feeding stick for its archive and for open water swimming's historical significance.

Photo by Pei Qingsheng of Toga's Benjamin Boukpeti after the Olympic K-1 race.

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