Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Joy of Victory in the Pool and Open Water

The exuberance of the Olympic medalists is a joy to see. The world's photographers truly captured the swimmers' triumphant exhilaration at the Olympics.

Swimming World Magazine’s October 2008 issue with Michael Phelps on the cover shows pages and pages of photos of ecstatic swimmers. Arms raised, fists clenched, shouts of joy and the adrenaline of Olympic victory can beautifully captures.

In stark contrast, the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim medalists appeared to be totally spent after they finished their races. There were no smiles, no arms raised to the sky and certainly no jumps for joy immediately after the finish. Instead, when the marathon swimmers cross the finish pads and swim to the dock, they gave a quiet acknowledgement through eye contact, exchanged respectual hand shakes and meak smiles with their competitors and the crowd.

The temperate joy of the open water swimmers shown at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in Beijing was definitely much different than the exuberance shown by the pool swimmers in the Water Cube.

We gave it all we had,” explained Thomas Lurz of Germany, the bronze medalist in Beijing. “Open water swimming is so much different than swimming in the pool. We swim hard for two hours and have no more energy left. But, when we win an Olympic medal, we are happy inside.”

Giving it all one has…a mantra that is well-known to solo, channel and open water swimmers worldwide.

Upper photo of Peter Vanderkaay, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte after the 4 x 200 freestyle relay by Simon Bruty of Sports Illustrated.

Lower photo of Olympic 10K gold medalist Maarten van der Weijden by Pei Qingsheng.

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