Every once in a while, you come across a story that really makes you feel good. That makes you believe in what people call ‘the triumph of the human spirit’.

The medals of Vijender Kumar and Sushil Kumar are triumphs in the face of official apathy and indifference, and these guys deserve every last bit of the praise they get. They have run harder and longer than most others to get to this stage. But for me, the defining story has to be that of Natalie du Toit. A swimmer with an amputated leg, she not only qualified for the Summer Olympics (a first), she also competed in what people call the toughest swimming event, the 10 km open water race. And she finished 16th, a minute and twenty-two seconds behind the winner, and ahead of 9 other able-bodied Olympic-level swimmers, including the winner at the Pan American games of 2007.

These are true parables of dreams and determination. And amidst the well-deserved accolades that Phelps and Bolt have got, let us remember the odds that were stacked against Vijender and Sushil. And let us also recognise the uplifting story of one woman’s spirit, her fight and triumph.

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