This week, the behavior we have seen in some of the US Olympic Swimmers has been disappointing and sad, especially for me. Some of these swimmers are people who I have looked up to for the last 8 years, and to see them ruin their image, the image of the sport, and disappoint so many has been devastating, to say the least. So in light of all this, I thought it would be very fitting to write my thank you to all of the swimmers who made their Olympic experience extremely special, not only for themselves, but also for everyone who’s supported their career.
Katie Ledecky, thank you for showing us your grace (and speed) from such a young age. You have stayed humble and composed from the young age of 15, even after rising to fame. Your races are incredible and have everybody’s eyes glued to the screen (even though we know you will win).
Maya DiRado, thank you for giving us a glimpse to your short, but amazing Olympic career. Thank you for giving us an exciting race in your 200 back, and showing us all just how excited and proud you were.
Missy Franklin, thank you for keeping that Missy smile on your face, as disappointed as you were. You have inspired so many young swimmers around the world to keep on going, no matter what obstacles you face. You showed grace and support for all of your teammates, even when you were simply watching from the stands.
Lilly King, thank you for showing the world what “Lilly King’s finger wag” is, and for reminding us the values that all swimmers should have.
Dana Vollmer, thank you for showing the world that even a “Mama on a mission” can be an olympic gold medallist. I love you!
Eizabeth Beisel, thank you for always being so proud to be representing your country, and being there for your teammates no matter what. You are the team member that every swimmer wants on their swim team.
Ryan Held, thank you for being part of that legendary 4×100 free relay team (with Dressel, Phelps, and Adrian) and getting up there on the podium with them. Thank you for showing us just how grateful you were to be representing your country on that level. And thank you for making America’s hearts melt with joy after seeing your tears while the Start Spangled Banner played.
Ryan Murphy, thank you for being humble and excited at the same time. And thank you for leading off the extremely anticipated 4×100 medley relay in with a world record in the 100 back. American won’t be able to thank you enough.
Cody Miller, thank you for showing us your extreme excitement as you touched the wall third (for a bronze medal) in the 100 breast. It has been a long time since we’ve seen someone react not with disappointment, but with extreme joy to a bronze medal win. Very much deserved!
Tony Ervin, thank you for bringing me the most exciting race with your 50 free gold medal win. My whole family was on their feet, jumping up and down screaming for those 26 seconds, and the race ended with my sister and I in tears. You are by far the most inspirational swimmer to me, and continue to impress the world proving that you are never too old to win an Olympic gold medal.
Michael Phelps, thank you for all the things I don’t have enough time to list. Thank you for starting from the young age of 15, and only getting better as time goes on. You have proved so many times that you are the GOAT, and will always be. Thank you for showing the joy you have when you win your medals (28!!), and for understanding that it’s a privilege to represent the US. Thank you for retiring, and then proving how strong the bond between the swimmer and the pool is by returning to the sport. Thank you for making us all scream, cheer and cry during each and every one of your races. Thank you for showing your emotion every time you get up on the podium, and for recognizing everyone who has helped you get to where you are. Thank you for tying for silver with Czeh and Le Clos in the 100 fly, and being nothing but excited to see Joseph Schooling pave the way for where the sport will go. You have changed the sport in a way no other athlete will affect any sport. MP, thank you for everything you’ve done for the sport, and for going out with the biggest bang ever!