Michaela Merz

Everybody a hero

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We were swimming. On a Sunday afternoon, when it is drizzling outside, the sky is grey and the temperatures are very low, every indoor swimming pool in the city is full. So was it also that day. My youngest one (7) and I first found us for a bit of space in the non-swimmer pool. But playing was not so easy because there were so many people playing with balls, splashing, hitting each other and a large number of small girls with shrill voices, which they used mercilessly in full decibel force. After half an hour we simply had enough and changed to the diving platform.

The diving platform is always a male bastion. Every now and then a small girl dares to come over but usually jumps just from 1m and hardly ever a young woman, who then mostly pays homage to the old gender stereotypes, meaning running indecisively up and down between the 3m and 5m boards, raising their noses before jumping, screaming fearfully and similar. The 7.5m and 10m boards belong to the men, who then present various jumps entertaining the entire indoor swimming pool.

I noticed how little athletic their bodies looked like, how the fat wobbles around their bellies and that most of the young men have too many kilos. A six-pack had not been seen for a long time.

And in this moment we saw this young man. About 25 years old, 130kg at least and not athletic at all. He was standing at the 7.5m diving board, started with a short sprint and then with full force, bottom ahead, he landed in the pool. At that moment the entire indoor swimming pool it became totally silent, the little girls stopped screaming, children stopped playing, swimmers swimming and all eyes were directed toward the diving pool. After his jump the water splashed up almost to the 7.5m diving board. Raging applause and chanting “more” shouts filled the indoor swimming pool.

He did not need to be asked twice and presented several more jumps, which every time brought the indoor swimming pool to complete silence and caused an Olympic atmosphere. None of the other young men, who tried to copy him, managed jumps which were as impressive as his.

He was the hero of the day, collecting admiring views. His splash jumps qualified him for the gold medal that afternoon.

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