By Phil Whitten
INDIANAPOLIS, August 16. More vignettes…
Brooke Bennett, who established herself last night as the worthy successor to Janet Evans as queen of distance swimming with her impressive win in the 800, is as thoughtful out of the water as she is dominant in the water.
The other morning I was chatting with the waiter at my hotel while he was serving breakfast. An older man, Otis told me how four years ago he spoke with a 15 year-old girl–he couldn't quite recall the name that morning–who had won a distance event at the 1996 Trials. He liked her and likened her to his own daughter, who had been an outstanding high school track athlete.
The 15 year-old swimmer promised that if she won a medal in Atlanta, she would send him a momento.
Brooke Bennett went on to Olympic gold in Atlanta and, a few weeks later, just as she promised, a package from Florida arrived for the waiter. Inside, Brooke had autographed the cap she wore in winning the 800 in Atlanta.
That cap, now framed, has its place of honor in the waiter's home.
When I spoke with Brooke the other day, I told her how impressed I was when the waiter told me this story. She answered, without hesitation: "Oh, you mean Otis. Yeah, he's a great guy!"
Four years after winning Olympic Trials, winning Olympic gold, winning World championship gold, and now winning Trials again…Brooke Bennett still remembers Otis, the friendly waiter at the Radisson Hotel in Indianapolis.
GARY PUTS IT ALL ON THE LINE
Few people realize how serious is the disease that Gary Hall Jr. has. Type I (juvenile) diabetes is nothing to fool around with.
Gary has traveled here from Phoenix with his coach, Mike Bottom; his teammates; his family, including his dad, Gary Hall, Sr., a three-time Olympian; and his doctor.
Earlier at the Trials, his doctor was very concerned about the effect of swimming two all-out 100 meter sprints in one day on Gary's body. She said it was very risky to his health, and had him eat 20 candy bars (ugh!!!) to make sure his blood sugar didn't drop too low.
Gary will be risking his long-term health by swimming both sprints (three times each) plus at least one relay in Sydney. His doctor is hoping to travel to Sydney to monitor his blood sugar.