Did you ever have an idol in some kind of sport growing up?
Mine was Michelle Kwan the figure skater. I didn’t envy her rigorous schedule filled with training and little time for rest but I was amazed when she could do all of the amazing moved effortlessly on ice. I guess I also admired her for her boldness – she dared to go out for the senior level figure skating behind her coach’s back and succeeded. As for me, ice skating is still a long way to go – I haven’t gotten past the stage where you shuffle around the rink and clutch onto the edge for support.
Despite the fact that she is younger than me, I think one of the athletes I admire at the moment is Mckayla Maroney. While she is mainly known for her infamous expression after failing to win gold in the individual vault during the 2012 Olympics, I can’t forget the amazing vaults she performed for the team medals. The commentators mentioned that she managed to achieve a great height for her vaults and had some strong landings, which led to good scores. I used to cringe whenever I watched the US artistic gymnastics team vault back in 1996, especially when Dominique Moceanu fell on both of her vaults on her behind and when Keri Strug was injured in the first vault. The falls looked painful and it seemed like the vault was tricky to simply get over and land without difficulty. For someone like Mckayla to make these vaults look effortless, almost old hat, is amazing in my mind.
Do you have a favorite athlete you admire?