Location: Birdsnest, Beijing
Nelson Évora - Final Men Triple Jump
You might know the epic scene from the movie Cast Away. Tom Hanks is at sea desperately trying to get away from his long stay at a deserted island. Wilson, a volleyball, was his only friend and it drifts away; “Wilson!!” was Tom’s cry that gave me the chills.
Now I was in the Birdsnest in Beijing and I got the same chills. But this time it was not Tom Hanks, but it was the girlfriend (she must have been!) of Nelson Évora. She shouted with more passion then the whole of the Netherlands jointly could do. “NELSOOONNN!” after Nelson Évora’s Olympic victory in the Triple Jump. It was so filled with emotions that I shed a tear as well.
We often see the athlete in action. Sometimes we get a sense of their preparations. Trainings they go through. In order to become the best, they sacrifice a lot. If not all. And then, at that one moment in time, they suffer defeat or celebrate victory. Some go through that internally without showing much emotions. Most however burst out in joy or tears.
What we however don’t often see are the partner, family or friends. They have witnessed for years and years the struggles of their loved ones. They have suffered also the consequences of the choices that were made in order to chase that Olympic dream. I have seen and talked to many parents and relatives in the stands. It always gave me mixed feelings, their suffering and their joy. It almost looks like normal live. But then again, how normal can the lives of Olympic Champions be?
Nelson Évora won in Beijing the biggest win of his life. Gold in the triple jump. His girlfriend (or a fan desperately to be in that position 😊) was close to us. The tension, the exaltation, the tears; all led up to that one scream; “Nelson!”. And I thought; I really need to see Cast Away again!