Misty Hyman and the business of inspiration…
Because I’m an eternal swim geek, with a self-absorbed soft spot for 200 flyers, Misty Hyman’s magical race back at the 2000 Sydney Games has always been a swim of deep fascination for me. Forced to name my favorite all-time Olympic moment, that’s my pick. It was more a miracle than Lezak’s anchor in Beijing; it was harder to fathom than Phelps’s impossible touch in the 100 fly at those same Games. Argue that all you like, that’s the beauty of comparing such moments. There are no right answers, only frozen-in-time memories.
Maybe it’s because I was there, seated at the elbow of a squealing Rowdy Gaines in the broadcast booth. I was a PA for NBC Olympics, assigned to scribble notes and splits for the most colorful voice of our sport, just two years removed from competition myself, and deeply conflicted over the pale, out-of-shape network staffer that I’d become.
Or maybe it’s because she was swimming my event. (Or, more accurately, I had swum her event…) I had the same dream, visualized it daily for years on end, and had come up short. Three long distant seconds short in Atlanta, to be exact. The vicarious envy surely runs deep.
But who needs navel-gazing personal connections to remember a moment like that? It comes down to one thing: I was inspired. And if you have a pulse, and any interest in the Olympics at all, so were you.