Even though I would consider myself a water lover, I cannot say that I would describe me moving around in all those rivers, lakes, seas or oceans of the world as a sporting activity.
But I throw myself into the tides in front of the beaches of my city at every given chance and enjoy every moment I am allowed to wrestle with the waves.
Of course I am able to stay above the surface and to keep myself in the water for quite a while, but my last swimming lesson was half a life ago.
However, I still remember the first day and a special scene from that first lessons has burned itself into my memory forever. At the end of that lesson a whole crowd of second graders had lined up and should have jumped into the deep water for the very first time. Of course not without safety precautions and also the swimming instructors were present. Unfortunately the girl, who was the first in line, was not convinced at all and even after a good while of persuasion she simply could not be convinced to dare this very little but for her so huge and scary jump. In the end this delay tactic led to the fact that nobody at all could jump out of our group and the first swimming lesson was finished without this little test of courage. That was a long time ago.
In terms of sport I connect swimming particularly with two names which belong to two of the most successful swimmers of my homeland.
Kristin Otto and Franziska van Almsick
I will forever associate Kristin Otto with the 1988 Olympic Games in the South Korean capital Seoul. At those games the swimming star of the German Democratic Republic was able to fish six gold medals out of the Olympic pool.
6 gold medals!
She even overshadows the American superstar Carl Lewis.
For me, Kristin Otto was a heroine at that time, and I was excited and celebrated in front of out black and white television.
As a young teenager, it's easy to get excited about such a big event as the Olympic Games and get infected by the national euphoria.
In the 90s there was then Franziska von Almsick. No one in Germany who was interested in swimming or sport in general was able to get past her. Born in my hometown Berlin, Germany, and raised very close to where I grew up, I immediately liked this young and successful swimmer. And we were almost the same age, that connected even more.
And then all the medals she had brought home with her from all the different pools and swim stadiums around the world. Awesome!
Gold, silver, bronze and then the whole set up world records. Franzi was "Number 1" and we were all winners and world champions.
Even though she never won Olympic gold until the end of her career, Franzi could call herself World or European Champion 20 times. And especially at the beginning of her career I was always thrilled about her performance.
Of course, I see it all from a completely different angle today and can interpret the successes of various athletes in a completely different way.
Anyone who doesn't want to close their eyes to reality has to acknowledge that countless records, personal bests and medals have not always been achieved in a fair sporting manner. The word doping can and should be used at several occasions and spoken out loud.
In my own country, in particular, there was a well-developed system organised by the state to encourage athletes to perform even better by constantly taking in unapproved drugs. Very often athletes didn't have a real choice or were given it without their own knowledge, so it may sometimes be difficult to fairly judge what happened some decades ago. Especially teenagers didn't have any idea what their trainer and personal advisors were giving them.
The days I had heroes are long gone, and Olympic Games have now lost any glamour and excitement for me. I know that there have been several swimmers in recent times who have performed outstandingly at various events. And also that there are some athletes whose hobby seems to be collecting gold medals and world records.
But with the background knowledge that high performance sports and the pharmaceutical industry are happy to shake hands, all these top performances are not really worth reporting to me anymore.
I am now rather impassive and see swimming as a business in which not always the best, but mostly the cleverest and smartest participants win.
However, nothing can spoil the fun I am having when I get myself into the waters of this planet, swimming and snorkeling and pretending to dive. I really miss the warm season, but for the next couple of months I just have to be patient and live of my memories.
This is my entry to @liuke96player 's SCORUM Hall Of Fame Week where he features one sport each week and give new writers some platform to share their work. There is even some really generous Scorum Coin price for the best contributions.
Big thanks to our host and cheers too everyone who joins writing.