I have been thinking of writing a blog post for Fran Crippen for a while now. I have started to write a couple of times and then have stopped half way, not finishing it for many reasons. But tonight as I’m thinking about World Championship in Shanghai can’t help but thinking what if Fran were here.
If you have read my previous blogs you know that my swimming group created swimming events on Facebook back in 2009. Although my first group was called “Michael Phelps News and Events”, it did not exclude any other athletes. The events would report scores and results right after each race, and congratulatory notes would be posted on each swimmers wall.
FINA 2009 was very special to me at many different levels. I learned a lot about each swimmer and will always cherish my memories of Rome.
One of the swimmers that I wrote on their wall right after their victory was Fran Crippen. He had won bronze in the 10K. He actually took the time to write on my wall, thanking me for my effort. It was exciting times. I enjoyed interacting with the swimmers and swim fans. I have many favourite swimmers and Fran was one of them. I call the swimming community my “Swim Family”. You get to know and learn things about swimmers through publications, stories, articles, their wall posts, their tweets, and etc. You witness them graduate, marry, have babies, and practically get to be a part of their lives in the background.
When Fran created his page, I was the first person to post on his page. I said: “I’ll be cheering for you until 2012” and he replied: “Thank You”. He was polite and responded to his fans. I loved reading the wall posts between him and his sisters. They always put smile on my face. I could observe how proud and supportive of his sisters he was.
One day in October, as I was reading swim news as usual, I became numb. I could not believe what I was reading. I knew what I was reading but at the same time I was telling myself, I am reading it wrong, go back and read again. But unfortunately, it was true. This was from Huffingtonpost:
“PHILADELPHIA — Fran Crippen, a medal-winning open-water swimmer on the U.S. national team, told his coach he wasn't feeling well late in a race before he died in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.”
I just cried in front of my computer and was hopeless. I didn’t know what to do. Everyone deals with loss in many different ways. I was thinking of his sisters, his family, and his fiancé. It was only after his death and reading more articles that I learned about his true character and his big heart. He was loved by many and he will be missed by many.
14th FINA World Championships was held from July 16 to 31, 2011, with Open Water swimming starting on the 19th. I could not help but thinking of Fran.
”In London in 2012, Fran will aim to be the first US medalist ever in open water swimming at an Olympic Games.”
When Alex Meyer finished 4th in his 10K event and earned a spot in the 2012 London Olympics, I was overwhelmed with joy but at the same time again thinking of Fran and I knew he’d be watching him and he was proud.
In my eyes, he is an Olympian. I hope, he’ll be remembered in a very special way during Open Water Swimming in London 2012 by USA Swimming.
Goldmedalmel - http://www.youtube.com/user/goldmedalmel