Gold Medal T-Shirt (1/2)
Just a quick little one-shot based on a prompt by @fleurreads that I found in the FF tag. Inspired a bit by Hozzu’s husband’s reaction to her medal but mostly by Canadian speed skater couple Hamelin and St-Gelais at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (which as a Canadian I firmly believe was the best Olympics ever). Check out the video of the inspiration here. Hope this was what you wanted! Read on ff here. Part 2 here.
No one spoke in the ready room. The only noises were the
dull roar of the crowd outside the room on the pool deck stands, watching the
race and the patter of nervous feet behind her, bouncing up and down. Tucked
inside her long jacket Emma was warm, a necessary evil to keep her body ready,
chin down the neck with her mouth worrying at the zipper. It was the only sign
of anxiety she showed.
She was determined not to show nerves. Not when her rivals stood mere feet behind her. Not when there was a camera in her face broadcasting her to the entire country. Wearing the stars and stripes, especially since it was her wearing them, made the reporters pay closer attention and it was just a lot. Not for the first time Emma was thankful for the polarized lenses of her googles.
This wasn’t Emma’s first Olympics. Not by a long shot. She’d done two before, her first at sixteen in Bejing and then London. Her ability to act completely unfazed, completely blank, had earned her the nickname of Iceberg, right from her first race in China. Not because she was big, Emma was actually small for a swimmer. But because people thought she was made of ice.
This wasn’t her first Olympics. But it was going to be her last.
Emma was twenty-four. Not the oldest in the circuit by far. But she was done fighting constantly. Done of competing for survival in every aspect of her life. Going into her first Olympics Emma hadn’t thought she’d quit until her body had completely given out of her. Because swimming was the only thing she’d ever had.
Everyone knew the story. How Emma had grown up in the foster care system, swimming at the local gyms during free swims until she was adopted at age ten by Ingrid Arendelle. Ingrid recognized her love for swimming and her talent and enrolled her in proper swimming immediately after the adoption went through. Six years later she swam on the world stage with Ingrid watching and took a bronze medal in the two-hundred-meter butterfly. It was the first moment Emma had truly felt safe in her adoption with Ingrid. Emma had been given back once by the Swans, she always believed it could happen again. But standing on the podium, eyes finding Ingrid’s in the stand beside the pool deck, she knew she’d made her mother proud and was safe. Emma had gone for two years to Boston University while she trained for London before it became a decision of pursuing her education while swimming or pursuing a greater Olympic dream because she still made just a mediocre showing considering her talent- just two bronze medals. So Emma had quit university, supported by Ingrid like always, and started swimming full time.
Each competition she won more and more. This year alone, Emma had won the 200 butterfly at the Pan Am games, Olympic trials and then again at the Worlds. She’d silver medaled in the 100 butterfly at Olympic trials. This Olympics was to be the competition of a lifetime for her. Emma had four individual races and one relay and she was expected to come back to the United States with at least three medals. She’d already come in second in her 200 butterfly semi to get her to the final, holding back just enough to get there without exhausting herself.