Thursday, July 15, 2010

Silken Laumann, Rower and Accident Survivor

Pic from Library and Archives Canada
A few weeks ago I posted on my choice of ‘Sweat and the City’ girls. A Canadian reader recommended some stars from her hometurf to add to the list.  And being a sucker for Overcoming Injury and Adversity stories I have to share the adventures of Silken Laumann with you.

Laumann was a rower in the 90s and retired with three Olympic medals. Her 1992 win came 78 days after her lower leg was shredded by another boat in training. Shredded; as in nerves and muscles gone, fibula broken. Laumann spent a month doing what the doctors said, then trained in a specially adapted boat. Even during the Olympics she was hobbling around on a cane. But she found the determination to power over the line for a bronze medal.

A Sports Illustrated article quoted her as saying: 

“Rowing kept me honest. It's so black-and-white. You can't hide. Before '92 I was a strong person, but I wondered how strong I would be if something bad happened. Then something bad did happen and I didn't wallow in sorrow. I just figured, O.K., what do I do now? Sport strips you from all barriers, from all social conventions, and you see people for who they really are."

Do you know anyone else who steamed back from a nasty accident?

Pic from Sports Illustrated                              



Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

What an intimidating-looking injury. I'm appreciative that she allowed them to photograph it so we could all appreciate just how serious it was.

Inspiring story!

Tina C said...

Definitely very inspiring! :-)

Had no ideas she was injured that badly!

Niamh said...

@ Lisa, thanks for dropping by! It is a nasty injury, incredible to think you could have that and just get on with competing.

@ Tina - goodness did I teach a Canuk something? :) And yes, serious; if her life was a film you would find it hard to credit.