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Marsh column: Life after the Olympics

By Ester Marsh
For the Salisbury Post
Well, are you glad the Olympics are over? I kind of am. My husband, kids and I were glued to the TV most evenings. It took a toll on us. We are early risers and with all the great sporting events going on it was hard to go to bed.
Let me brag a little bit. My brother was in China. He is the technical coach for the men’s field hockey team from the Netherlands, my native country.
If you saw any of the games you saw the head coach wearing an ear piece. My brother was the one talking to him. He was up higher so he could oversee the whole field and give the head coach feedback.
I don’t know if they received a medal. As I am writing this, they lost in the semi-final round against Germany, after overtime and penalty shots. In Athens, the Dutch men’s field hockey team won the silver medal! My brother was there, too, and has his silver medal in a display case. I am so proud of him. I hope as you are reading this that they got the bronze medal. Ask me, I’ll know by the time you are reading this today!
The next summer Olympics games are in London in 2012. Another family member might be at these Olympics! My sister’s 13-year-old daughter dives. She is the youth Dutch champion in synchronized diving, the 3 meter and 1 meter. I believe she got third on the tower. They are prepping her for London.
She was invited to an invitational in Canada last February. She did well and LOVED it ó as did my sister who chaperoned. She attends a special high school for top athletes and if she makes it through puberty ó with the mind and/or body changes! ó I hope she’ll make it to the 2012 Olympics!
When I was in my prime in Judo, there was no female Judo competition in the Olympics. The first time it came to the Olympics was as an introduction sport in Barcelona in 1988. Not that I was guaranteed a trip to the Olympics. You still have to qualify for it.
The highest tournament I ever won was FICEP champion. It is like a European collegiate championship. I won many competitions and international competitions but for qualifications for the European and world championships I was always injured. That is part of being a top athlete and that is part of competing.
I know that there were American athletes who did not perform as expected, and it would kill me when the interviewer would ask the athlete: “Are you disappointed?”
What do you think, you idiot?!
All of them worked their tails off and did the best they could and went there to win; it just wasn’t always their time or day. I am proud of my brother whether or not he won bronze.
I am proud of all the American athletes who competed for this country.
I am sad the Olympics are over but I am also happy that we are finally getting some sleep!

Ester Marsh is associate executive director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA. Contact her with health and fitness questions at 704-636-0111 or emarsh@rowanymca.com.

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