I’m not sure why this didn’t publish when I wrote this a few weeks back but I’ll do it now unedited.
This story is already a few weeks old but if you haven’t yet, take a moment today to read this wonderful story, watch the entire video (about a 20 minute segment) or do both. It is about an ESPN producer who covered a story in 2009 about two friends (one blind, the other without both of his legs) but then never let it go as she decided to leave ESPN to be an integral part of the two kid’s lives.
Probably the best line of the entire for me was “the one with no legs, being carried by the one who could not see.”
It has been said time and time again that Michael Phelps is a machine in the pool but this story shows a different side of Phelps. For all the medals he has won, for all the mistakes he might have made (yes he is only 23 years old), here is a great thing this man did for a family going through a real tough time. A great piece here by Alan Abrahamson of NBC Olympics.com:
It was late, after midnight, and a little boy lay asleep in his bed. Just 11 years old, he was a desperately sick boy. He did not, as it turned out, have many more days left to live.
It was late, and Michael Phelps’ plane had been delayed, and so by the time he got to Stevie Hansen’s bedroom, Stevie could not be roused. No matter. Michael sat there on Stevie’s bed, holding Stevie’s hand. Just talking, certain Stevie could hear him. For two hours. Maybe longer. No one remembers exactly.
The next morning, Stevie woke up and said to his mom, Betsy, “I wish I had woken up. But I know he was here.”
Betsy Hansen sighed and said, “He was so thrilled.”
A little more than a year has passed since that night, since Michael quietly paid tribute to the fighting spirit and the soulfulness of a little boy who, before cancer took over his body, had himself been a swimmer, too — a boy who dreamed of one day being like his idol, Michael.
It is an awesome thing to have a President who is an avid sports fan and knows what he is talking when he says something on the subject (unlike when he does on domestic or foreign policy) but come on, at least hold your country’s flag the right way at the Olympics. I think that is his daughter Barbara who looks at the flag in befuddlement… makes for one heck of a photo.
Bob Costas had him on yesterday for an interview and he spoke real well on the Olympic opening cermonies, China hosting the event, baseball and steroids. Turns out he really can speak when he isn’t trying to lie or cover up something. Maybe it’s something he should have tried for the past seven years with the American public.
EDIT: Here is the video… not the greatest quality, but here it is nonetheless. If someone has a better quality, let me know. NBC has the official video up but I can’t currently access it because the computer at work is only a Windows 2000… yes you read that correctly but here is the link for that. (Click the picture on the right for NBC link)
(Watch the video before reading any further). As far as this race goes, I personally thought that Michael Phelps’ quest for the record was over after the 3rd leg and especially after 350m… but boy was I ever wrong. I have no idea where that last 50m came from by Jason Lezak but everyone watching that race in the arena or at home just went crazy. The French were left stunned, I know I was yelling and some of the people I talked to after the final said they were yelling too… just crazy stuff going on at the Olympics and this is why people should watch it!