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The triumphs and troubles of sport

dagny knutson

We often read how good sports is for the body, the soul and our well being. Many of us have experienced how sports have changed our characters for the better. We glorify the olympians and celebrate our heros. Less often do we hear about the failures. How sports destroy hope. How sports can be the pathway to destruction. Jerry Seinfeld once pinpointed this by saying that winning silver must be horrible, because you know that you are the first loser. Like anything Seinfeld says it sounds hilarious, but there is a grain, no – a solid rock – of truth in it. I can only imagine the fierce competition on the pinnacle of any competitive sport.

Yesterday the New York Times had a wonderful, heart breaking and yet encouraging article about Dagny Knutson, a former professional swimmer. Before the age of 21 Dagny had experienced more about life than most people in a life-time. At 16 she set an American record in the 400-yard individual medley at the short-course national championships. She was a promising star that was consumed by her training. But behind all the success there was no happiness. She suffered of bulimia and yet could perform on top of her age group. She eventually decided to take a break  from swimming and tackle her problems. After much hardship she managed, restarted her swimming career but shortly after decided to take a break from competitive swimming. There was more to life than swimming. On her Twitter 5 days ago she said “Travel, explore, embrace, learn, live”. These are the verbs by which we also live. Dagny is a true hero. Read the full article.

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