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CELEBRATING A TAPESTRY OF LIFE
Juanita

By Juanita Torrence-Thompson

Copyright 2000 by Juanita Torrence-Thompson
Originally published in the Monserrat Review

JUANITA TORRENCE-THOMPSON is a poet/writer/speaker whose award-winning work appears in U.S. and Canadian journals and online. See her poetry and book information at:www.poetrytown.com and e-mail her comments. Barbara Hantman's review of Torrence-Thompson's CELEBRATING A TAPESTRY OF LIFE (Torderwarz Publishing Company): www.the pedestalmagazine.com/Secure/content/cb.asp?cbid=3588


1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics

Victories of Greg Louganis, Carl Lewis
Sprint through my mind
Joy of attending our first Olympics
Star spangled pride and billowing
Red, white and blue at awards ceremonies
Created goose bumps and feelings of camaraderie

One event is gingerly etched -_
The first women’s Olympic marathon _
One by one the women raced into the
Massive stadium to applause
while crossing the finish line
But the most moving marathon
was Switzerland’s Gabriele Anderson
The last place finisher

This small blonde woman near collapse
Staggered into the cavernous stadium
Each step was climbing Mount Everest
Her eyes struggled to see the finish line
she nearly fainted, then steadied herself
Walking slowly, deliberately
Dragging one foot behind the other
Step by step by fragile step

We shot into the air cheering.
We clapped, shouted, screamed
”Come on Gabriele!” As she stumbled along,
Tears glissaded down our faces
.”My God, I hope she makes it”
It was her race, my race for humankind

Sweat streamed down her face
she swept it aside, focused o her goal.
Unabashed grit, determination and faith
Pushed her fragile body over the finish line
The crowd went ballistic
We yelled, leaped into the air, cried, hugged
Her standing ovation overshadowed the winner
Gabriele was carried away on a stretcher
And into an ambulance, but her perseverance
made her the victor in our hearts, minds and souls



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