“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)
There’s a great deal that diabetics can learn from the top-notch veteran Olympic athletes, in using and caring for their bodies and steeling their mind for challenges, so along with the world, I watched, rooted for, cheered and applauded 41 year old Dara Torres accomplish miracles at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, regardless of whether she may have wished for even better results, and I applaud veteran time trial Olympic cyclist Jeannie Longo of France and gold medalist Kristin Armstrong of USA as well Germany’s Oksana Chusovitina in Gymnastics and the surprise Olympic gold medalist in Women’s Marathon, Romania’s Constantina Tomescu-Dita.
We’ll discuss Chusovitina and Tomescu in later posts.
Throughout, she showed concern for her fellow athletes (and asked for the swimmer whose suit was torn to be allowed time to change, and the 50 meter race was delayed — which interrupts her delicate pre-race regimen — but she’s a top-notch sportswoman for whom sportsmanship [sportswomanship!] is natural).
I think Dara had the best chance in the “splash and dash” 50m race, which she has excelled in even before it was ever on the Olympic roster; she first held the record in it in 1984. Now she’s an experienced veteran Olympian, after all this is Dara’s fifth Olympic Games!
Unlike Michael Phelps who powered into the wall’s touch-pad the previous evening, winning his 7th Olympic gold medal race by .01 seconds, Dara seemed to lose the 50m race just then, to Steffen of Germany.
The arm-configuration of the last stroke just didn’t get Dara to the wall in a way she could hit the pad (even though she reached the wall first) and so she lost the Gold Medal by .01 seconds to a girl who could be her daughter. No shame there. It was a magnificent accomplishment.
And, moments after the 50m medal ceremony, Dara had to race, against swimmers who were “fresh”. She was the strongest swimmer on the American team in the 4 x 100 Medley relay, and swam the anchor leg freestyle, to give them the silver medal.
Back-stroker Natalie Coughlin had started the American team off well, but the two intervening team members did not add to the lead - they squandered it - so it was Dara Torres who salvaged the American medal, and tore the back of her suit, too, in the herculean effort. Dara was only narrowly edged-out of the gold by a truly young Australian team.
Especially after retiring three times, then each time resuming with Olympic caliber results, Dara Torres is definitely my heroine of the Games, although there are many other wonderful stories, some of which I will share here.
From Dara Torres’ success, lessons I think diabetics can apply to dealing with diabetes are to:
___ never quit, no matter what you are facing
___ plan an educated strategy and execute it – no excuses
___ work on your strategy daily
___ respect your body – put nutrition first, as well as rest, to balance activity
___ prioritize, even if nothing much but family is regularly a part of your life because of your regimen, until you make success happen
___ gather a supportive, knowledgeable team around you
___ always seek new knowledge, test it, and tailor it to ensure your success
___ never limit self or horizons
___ always believe you can succeed, then act
Whether Dara will pop-up again just before the next Olympics remains to be seen, but she does say that she is becoming even more competitive as she ages, rather than her competive urge waning. So, there’s a very good chance that Dara Torres will try to make history, yet again, at London 2010.
Dara says she plans to take one week off, then she will return to training and the pool, as that “miss” by .01 second is really gnawing at her!
Meanwhile, in Health, I hope Dara Torres will continue to lead the way, and create a new view of aging that busts through sterotypes and starts humans to thinking more about the real biological limits of our longevity span, which scientists say should be 150 years, as our mammalian-markers show.
Think about what you can accomplish in the world with double your commonly projected life-span. Understand how you can make a difference when you regain your Health, and yes, I truly believe that it is possible to regain your Health because diabetes IS beatable.
Seven-time Olympian cyclist Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli of France, who is almost 50 years of age, is another athlete worthy of emulation and adulation. On Beijing’s slippery mountainous roads, in the torrential downpours, Jeannie came in 24th in a field of 66 in the road race, but after 78 miles (126km) she was only 23 seconds from a gold medal!
American Kristin Armstrong, age 35, came in 25th behind Jeannie. British cyclist, Nicole Cook, age 25, from Wales, won the gold medal, and collapsed at the finish. Marianne Vos, of the Netherlands, the pre-race favorite finished sixth. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli led on many occasions. Brava! to all.
Then, Kristin Armstrong (no relation to Lance Armstrong) went on to win the gold medal in the Time Trial race, and in that race, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli just missed a medal by less than 2 seconds! Karin Thurig of Switzerland just edged her out.
Uncharacteristically, Jeannie had been suffering with sciatic nerve pain in her back and leg for the previous 2 days and during the race, and she hates to race in the rain, even though she loves and excels at mountain riding. What could Jeannie Longo have done if she had been completely pain-free? better weather? Personally, given how well she did, I think she would have been unbeatable.
The gold medalist in the Time Trials, American Kristin Armstrong, has been working for 8 years to win, and was not even nominated to the US cycling team in 2004. So, her individual drive and persistence finally paid off in her lonely road to glory.
Jeannie Longo and Kristin Armstrong are excellent women cyclists. Their ages just make the accomplishments even more amazing, as the other winners are 25 at most.
Kristin says “You cannot give up until you cross the finish line!” and that is good advice for diabetics, too, and our Journey is also often a lonely, solitary one with those around us not being empathetic enough or interested enough or tolerant. In the end, it must be our battle though.
And, Jeannie Longo comes along as an interesting role-model on many levels, for all of us, and especially diabetics. The lessons to learn are in bold text.
Originally from Grenoble, Jeannie Longo had shunned the games in Grenoble, France years ago because of its poor air, so it is ironic that she will have to breathe Beijing’s even more polluted air for the 78 mile road race and yet again for the time trial. The American cyclists were issued masks, and there was criticism about wearing them. Health should come first!
Preserving her Health is the top priority of Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, all 5 foot 4 inches (164cm), 103 pounds (46 kg) of her! We’ll talk about that in a moment, but guarding her Health has helped her win 13 World Championships, 38 world records, 4 Olympic medals in 7 Olympics*, more than 1,000 other victories, including three Tour de France.
Jeannie started out being trained in boxing and wrestling by her mother, a physical education teacher, she aimed for the French ski team, and although talented, when she did not make that prestigious group, Jeannie was wise in being flexible and changed plans and re-structured her life to succeed; she turned to cycling,
Now, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli is the only woman to have participated in women’s cycling at every Olympics since it was first introduced as a sport in Los Angeles in 1984, when she was 6th. She won her gold medal in Atlanta in 1996; she has 2 silvers and 1 bronze Olympic medals additionally, from other Games. Her fourth place finish in the Time Trial Beijing 2008 shows how formidable she still is. So Jeannie’s physical and mental strategies work!
What are Jeannie’s other tactics for Health? Jeannie is a perfectionist and a pragmatist. The second attribute helps to reign-in the first.
As she is allergic to chemicals and food additives, she lives high in the Alps, and off the usual beaten-track. She keeps goats and gardens organically. She stays very active all year. Her cycling is done in the mountains, where she rides for fresh food milk and organic food direct from the other farms, daily, and Jeannie eats only organic food. Living in the pristine air, she an out-spoken ecologist, who wants this blessing for all of us.
She trains for big events in the even higher mountains of Colorado, in the clean air. When Jeannie travels elsewhere, she brings her own organic carrots (very portable and necessary for great eyesight), de-ionizer to clean her nearby air and water filters.
Jeannie is always aware of the System, and if it is going to be less than beneficial to her, she is brave enough to speak out, no matter who she is talking to. Diabetics can learn from her about that, too. The status quo is not something you want to automatically accept.
And, she’s out-spoken that the Olympic Games should not have been awarded to China — because of China’s civil rights abuses in Tibet as well as the severely detrimental air, water and anything grown there with lax or non-existent regulations (which impacts all of us directly, too, as so many countries now import massive amounts of food from China!).
As an aside, by the way, the record for highest number of Olympics participated in as an athlete belongs to Austrian sailor, Hubert Raudaschl, at nine Olympic Games, but Jeannie has said that barring injury, she is on her way to the London Olympics 2012, as her eighth! She said she felt good training all this year and sees no reason to stop.
If you have any doubts that these lessons can apply to diabetics, then read about the long, illustrious career of Gary Hall, Jr. famed American Olympic swimmer and a Type 1 diabetic.
I think it is important to know that role models can be found in many places and that it is imperative to keep an open mind about everything in your life, including Diabetes. In my opinion, mainstream medicine does not have all the answers, and may not even be looking for them.
The fact is that Dr. Robert O. Young, PhD’s pH Miracle plan, Dr. Gabriel Cousens, MD’s vegan Raw For 30 Days regimen, The People’s Chemist – Shane Ellison, MA’s 60 day protocol and Barry Sears, PhD’s Zone Diet clinical trial protocol all cured diabetes or vastly improved it in all who adhere to the systems. This shows me that we are NOT being served or treated properly or well by regular medicine.
You need to think outside-the-box like these programs just mentioned already do, and also include energy medicine to rebalance your body-mind as well as to support its return to Health, too, via: acupunture, acupressure, esogetic color-puncture, Chi Gung, Bowen Technique, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Tai Chi, Yoga or a few more.
As these Olympic athletes know, you only have one body – protect it, use it, hone it - and steel your mind to your Life’s challlenges. Everyone is going to have road-blocks, disappointments and regrets. We are here to learn universal Lessons and help others learn more easily from our hard-won experience. So, bootstrap onto the exceptional wisdom contained here and become very disciplined, as well as being very positive that you can return to Health.
Read Part 1 at:
Best to all — Em
* (other 7 time Olympians are: Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, at age 44 [now she's 48], and Swedish fencer Kerstin Palm)
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PHOTO REFERENCES -
1) Statistics – NY Times
2) NY Times
3) NY Times – Adam Pretty, Getty Images
5) Brynn Lennon, Getty Images
(c)2008 Em (http://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
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