Siege Diaries 9/18/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Can I let the pains of life pass without adding to them?

I really do not truly know pain–at least not the physical kind. I’ve certainly suffered from mental anguish at times, but it’s usually been transient in nature.

Do I make it worse than it really is?

I don’t think so. After all, my experience is that for me, these things do pass.

But who knows what might happen if I ran up against pain or anguish on a different magnitude.

Lovely little SCA event today, where I ran an archery range for the first time in over two years.

I’ve been reading about memories, dim memories of the 1976 Olympics. Not the gymnastics, which I’d never really forgotten, but the swimming–one of my favourite sports. I remembered very well the dominance of the East German women’s team (and all the jokes about the “men” who competed for them), but I’d forgotten how that had pushed a very talented US team further down or off the podium. I’d completely forgotten the name Shirley Babishoff, who had finished second to East Germans multiple time, and how she’d been ridiculed by the press for being a “sore loser”–for pointing out that there was “something wrong” with the East German women’s team.

It was only after the Wall came down that Stasi records revealed just how extensive the doping program (named State Plan Topic 14.25) was, how young children were started on the regimen–and how it drastically impacted the athletes who (at least initially, while they were children) were given “vitamin injections and pills” without their consent. Those who objected were threatened with not only losing privileges, but sometimes even access to schooling. It should be mentioned that these athletes were not adults–this started when they were as young as nine or ten. And more than one gold-medal-winning East German swimmer was forced into early retirement either due to health programs or by refusing to continue taking the supplements and injections.–which is what happened to quadruple Montreal gold medalist Kornelia Ender (another name I remembered the moment I heard it.)

Still, to this day, there has been no movement by the IOC to either revoke the medals won by the East German women swimmers at the 1976 Olympics, or to award duplicate medals to those who should have won them.

The American women did pull out one gold–in the 400 freestyle relay–over the East Germans–and, again, I have vague memories of this race.

It has certainly been interesting rummaging around in the back portion of the giant file cabinet of my brain.