Looking For Gold

As the race got closer and closer I began to panic.  I just couldn’t get a grip.

Sitting in the warm up room while I awaited the  call for my final in the 100 meter backstroke I felt the strength drain out of my body and my legs go numb.  My mouth was dry and I had to struggle just to swallow and try to collect my thoughts.  When I finally heard my name called I could barely stand up.  This was the moment of my dream .  The culmination of all I had worked so hard for.

When the gun  finally sounded  all I could hear was the  pounding of my heart  in my ears and the tortured thoughts which flooded my mind as I hit the water   “But what if I lose!”   “But what if I lose!”    My race had been lost before it began.

I knew well before I hit the wall that I had lost to my rival Kaye Hall of the US by only a mere fingernail.  I had left my kick too late and had run out of pool before I could overtake her.  In disbelief at what had just happened I went into emotional shock. My dream of Olympic Gold had just been shattered into pieces on the cold hard deck of that pool in Mexico City and along with it went I.  When that race finished everything finished in my world…  My life and all the glory was gone in a mere minute…

My only recollections in the wake of my race are snippets here or there.   I do not remember receiving my medal on the podium  nor going to the interview room afterward.  According to those who witnessed it I looked inside the door and saw all the reporters rushing up with their microphones all asking the same question  “Why did you lose, Elaine!?”  and this is where I officially broke apart into pieces for all the world to see…

I once again opted out by running away from them and it seemed like I never stopped running for many decades to come…

Having not only let myself and my family down but the hope and pride of a country was far too much for me to withstand based on the foundation from whence I had come.  Some may view this as just another race and get over it but in complete contrast to me this loss struck at the very core of my being.

Everything I had believed about myself had just been shattered into pieces and with little support nor encouragement from those who were left to help me put them back I became a broken soul in search of myself.  It took  many decades for me to pick up those scattered pieces from the ashes of my life.  I continued to seek in all the wrong places hoping to fill the hollow within me from the outside.  People and places and things which ultimately could never complete that which needed healing from the very beginning…  my own heart…  It was only when I began to look within and understand the wisdom hidden within the pain that I truly began to make progress.   This is the true Quest Beyond Gold and the one that I was about to embark upon…

I have written in much detail the events of my life and the years of suffering the after effects of the Olympics on my other website elainetanner.ca

 

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