Aug. 21, 2008

Sometimes it doesn't take a gold medal to be a real champion!

Natalie du Toit was a very promising talent in South Africa's swim team, training hard to make it to the Athens Olympics. Those plans changed abruptly in 2001, when she had a terrible accident with her motor scooter, which resulted in the doctors amputating at the knee.

Did that stop her Olympic dreams- not even close. She had a sensational comeback in both disabled and able bodied swim events and qualified for the Beijing Olympics. She carried South Africa's flag during the opening ceremony, and finished the 10k open water swim event on Wednesday 16th (after having some problems with her cap and thus skipping drink stops).

She wasn't satisfied with her result, but already plans to be back at the 2012 Olympics in London. Plus, she'll compete in the Beijing Paralympics, where she's a heavy favorite, trying to defend the 5 gold medals she won in Athens.

Her coach gave her a poem prior to the accident, that didn't mean much to her at that time, but now serves as an inspiration:

"The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals;
The tragedy of life lies in not having goals to reach for.
It is not a disgrace not to reach for the stars,
But it is a disgrace not to have stars to reach for."

A great motto to live your life. Natalie is a true inspiration as an athlete and a survivor, showing everyone that you don't have to be treated differently just because you're different in some way. Please visit her website to read her story and be prepared to get inspired!

1 comment:

Obsessedwithlife said...

Cool story-thanks for sharing!!