“That’s it! One more lap to go…” I told myself. In my mind I saw myself holding up that bright, shiny gold medal that I had worked so hard for. My body was burning up despite the freezing temperature of water around me. I could hear the cheers of the enthusiastic crowd from beneath the water’s surface. Faster and faster I swam, my body ached in protest but nevertheless, I willed myself to go even further.
Then, I hit the concrete wall and burst towards the surface gasping for air. The crowd erupted in cheers and I saw the people form my country jumping like crazy. “Five minutes and forty-eight seconds, in first place… Mitsume Fujiwara, Japan!” the announcer broadcasted. I could not believe my ears. Five minutes and forty-eight seconds! This was the best record that I had ever set for my 400 meters freestyle games. I felt that satisfactory smile spreading across my face. All those years of training paid off. My lungs were still struggling to breathe properly when my coach came up to me and pulled me out of the water.
“Congratulations, Mitsume, you did it.” My coach congratulated. I shook my head and told him “It’s only possible because I have a good coach.” He smiled and handed me my towel. The effort I had put in paid off eventually. I walked up to the resting bench where all my friends were waiting. As I removed my goggles and swimming cap, Yume came up and hugged me. “You did it.” She said. I gave her a smile, then drank some water and rested.
When my lungs began to function properly again, the announcer called for the top three athletes to receive their prize. I stepped forward and was awarded a gold medal. “Smile.” said the photographer. I smiled and shook hands with the presenter. Then I left. Even as I walked back to the changing room, I could still hear the people form my country shouting for joy behind me.
I took a shower and reflected on my win. It felt so surreal. This is day that I had dreamt of my entire life, I won a medal at the first Youth Olympics and it felt great. The feeling of loneliness just went away.
While my other regular friends went out to the mall, I spent my time swimming laps after laps for hours. The coach was really strict. Immediately after school, I had to swim from three to six. I also had to watch my diet and ensured that I minimized the intake of sweet or cold food. I used to be envious of people who could eat chocolates and ice cream because I could never do so. The prize often does not come without a price.
For this prize, I had sacrificed my time for five years as a regular teenager. I did not go to malls, have a relationship, and eat junk food like normal teenagers. I also did not have many friends because the only friends I had were the friends who stuck with me during training. However, I felt that this price was simply worth it because the prize was not just the medal and glory. It is the satisfaction of achievement that would stay with me for life.