Tomorrow night, Sally McLellan runs in the final of the women's 100m hurdles. She was one of two Strayan athletes (along with Craig 'Buster' Mottram) I predicted would have a shot at a track medal at Beijing. Good luck to the plucky 21 year old Queenslander.
But no such luck for the Guineans I'm afraid. Meet Fatmata Fofanah:
In Heat 5 of Round 1 of the 100m hurdles, Fatmata Fofanah took to the track.
I've done some research. Fatmata was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone (another oxymoron) in 1985, but at some point, she and her parents Mohamed and N'Sira moved to the USA, presumably for a better life.
In 2004, she finished third at the Indoor Scholastic Nationals in the 60m hurdles in her junior season and also won something called 'The Colgate' title in the hurdles. She then received All-American honours at the 2007 NCAA Division event in California, and came 4th (in a speedy 12.96) in the 100m hurdles at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
She studies International Affairs at Georgia Tech.
She was fast, but not quite fast enough to make the USA track team, so, for the second time in her life, she changed nationalities and became a proud Guinean and was chosen to represent her newly adoped country in this event.
Obviously, she has devoted most of her life training to get into the Olympics - you must surely be pretty determined if you're willing to become a Guinean just to compete.
I watched her heat. Naturally, I had never heard of her before the starter's gun went off. What made me think Fatmata was worthy of posting is that the poor girl fell at the first hurdle... and that's not a metaphor. She ran 15 metres in about 3 seconds, and that was it. That was her entire Olympic contribution.
So when we watch Phelps, Bolt and all those bogan 'Golden Girls' bathe in their Olympic glory, I ask you to consider, just for one second, Fatmata Fofanah and the thousands of other Olympians that failed miserably.
I wish her luck with her International Affairs course.
(Photo from USA Today - Fatmata Fofanah falling at the first hurdle, thus shattering the Guineans dream).
Here's an even more poignant shot I found: