I've competed in the Olympic Games 5 times. My experiences are immeasurable, my regrets are few....and I wouldn't trade them for all the world!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
6th or 7th???....That is the question!!
My father is a pastor and this morning as is customary whenever I am at home visiting, I went to the church that he was preaching at. Also, as is customary, after the service, several of the members of the church came up to me, introduced themselves and asked me what I do for a living, you know the typical run-of-the-mill type conversation.
Inevitably, after I say that I do track and field for a living, the question that follows is, "So have you ever competed in the Olympics?" Once I say yes, 9 times out of 10, the next question is, "Did you win a medal?" To the non-athlete, success to a large degree is so heavily based on whether or not you won a medal at The Games. They don't always realise or recognize the accomplishment it is to make the finals or just to compete at The Games, but that's a whole 'nother story. Normally I answer the question by saying that my best finish was 7th, in Sydney, Australia in 2000. (The picture above is from the actual competition.)
Now here is where my new dilemma comes. In light of recent events that have come to the forefront concerning performance enhancing substances that were taken in 2000 by the the "World's best female athlete of the Games", and the ensuing removal of her medals and results, I am left somewhat unsure as to what to say to the person that comes up to me and asks me the question that I will be asked 100 times next year if not once, "How did you finish at the Olympics?"
Before two months ago, the answer was easy, concrete, not debatable. Fast forward two months and I am not quite sure of my response. When I first uploaded my website a couple weeks ago on my home page, I wrote that I had finished 6th, accounting for the removal of the bronze place result and therefore moving myself up one place. I have since changed it back to 7th because that is what the records of that time still shows (although they may still be amended) and I don't want anyone to think that I am trying to falsely give myself undue credit.
So what should I do/say? Should I say I finished 6th with explanation or should I just say I finished 7th. Now of course, some of you might say, who cares, 6th, 7th what's the big deal? But to a person that has spent her entire life in pursuit of The Olympics, the dream, the podium, trust me when I say it matters. When my kids ask me some day, "Mom, how did you finish?", what will I say? Will I take matters into my own hands and opt to give myself the higher placing or will I just let history speak for itself and let the results stand as they are? As of the writing of this blog, who the heck knows.