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State of mind

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo (The Freeman) - April 13, 2021 - 12:00am

In 1996, one-legged triathlete Rudy Fernandez swam the shark-infested Guimaras Strait to Bacolod City in 13 hours. The feat landed Rudy in the Hero for Heroes section of Readers Digest. When interviewed at the Bacolod  Wharf, Rudy said “Disability is just a state of mind”. Here’s another story on determination despite disability.  In 1945, doctors looking at six -ear-old American Shelley Mann told her parents she had polio and that she could hardly move.  Her parents did not lose hope and at age 10, took her to the swimming pool in Maryland and started training her.  Everyday, Shelly worked to get her strength back in her body.  By the time she was 12, Shelly had  begun competitive training in Washington D.C. and swam for an hour or more everyday before and after school. In the early 1950s, Shelley won the U.S National Championship for butterfly, backstroke, freestyle and medley races and was part of a record-breaking relay team. At age 17, Shelly was selected to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.   She didn’t begin well, placing sixth in the 100-meter freestyle.  But in the 100-meter butterfly, Shelly made use of her powerful butterfly stroke to win in 1 minute, 11 seconds, a new Olympic record.  As she recieved her medal, tears went down her face. Her hard work and will power had paid off, the girl who couldn’t move a muscle struck gold.  I recalled Pharmaton’s mantra “What the mind can conceive, the body will achieve”.

Paralympics

In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a German doctor living in England was trying to promote the rehabilitation of soldiers after World War II.  He organized a multi-sport event between several hospitals to coincide with the 1948 London Olympics known as the Stroke Mandeville Games.  This became an annual sports festival.  Over the next 12 years, Guttman and others continued their efforts to use to aid healing.  In 1960, Guttman  brought 400 athletes to compete in the “Parallel Olympics” which became as the first Paralympics. Since then, the Paralympics  have been held in every Olympic year.  During the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the city hosted  the Paralympics. Former Olympic gold medalist, Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organizing Committee for the 2012 London Games said “We want to change public attitudes towards disability”.  Coe became the first athlete to win the 5,000 meters twice, 1980, Moscow and 1984, Los Angeles.

Did you know?

RICHARD NIXON  was crazy about football he used the sports terms as code words from U.S activities in Vietnam.  “ Operation Linebacker” was the code name for mining Hanoi’s harbors and Vietnam peace negotiations were known as “Quarterback”.

KEN OVERLIN AND SPIKE WEBB were opponents in a boxing match in Virginia in 1927.  Before the fight though, Ken got married to his fiancee’ Madeline Smith in the boxing ring.  The bride wore a traditional white dress while Ken and Spike  wore their boxing shorts and had their gloves on.  You see, Spike was the best man.  Ken later on became World Middleweight champion.

RUDY FERNANDEZ
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