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The Sun Shines Over a Burning Track

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The sun shines over the burning track. Runners take their places. They wear their country's flag honorably. But pride is held in. Unity and difference are forgotten. Now it's just two types of people. The scared and the prepared...

The crowd cheers, anxiously waiting for their runners, their heroes, to take their marks. They know it's coming. It's the moment they've all been waiting for. The runners can feel it too. The energy. The audience can hardly contain themselves. Nor can the runners.

I've waited my whole life for this. I'm so excited, I barely even slept last night. I know it's coming. It'll be the most important thirteen seconds of my life. I feel my heart beating fast. Nerves threaten to throw me off focus. I shut myself out to all the noise and just work to control my breathing. One. Two. Breathe in. One. Two. Breathe out. One. Two. One. Two. "Focus Tanya." I think to myself. " You can do this. You've trained yourself for this."

I can hardly remember that little girl in middle school slipping through the fence of her future high school in the early mornings and running on that beat up track. This feels like a dream. But I don't wake up. I don't want to. This is what I've been waiting for. So many years leading up to this. Thirteen seconds. In only thirteen seconds my life will change.

One beat. Two. Then a loud sound pierces the sky and makes me run with all my power. I form a rhythm. I don't see the other runners. I don't hear the crowd screaming their loudest in four years. I think of only my rhythm and nothing else. I don't even think of the finish line. Until I see it. Right in front of me. And I want it. I want to make it to that line.

I go back to thinking of when I did this as a child. Running that old track, year after year. I had distractions then. But now, there are no distractions. I dash across that finish line at full speed. And then I look to my left, then to my right. All of a sudden, runners are joining me at the end. I made it!

I stand taller than ever. A first place sprinter. I accomplished my dream. I take a breath. Holding back tears, I look at the crowd. They cheer for us. Not just for me, but for all of us. For we have all accomplished a dream of many. We represented something much more than a country. We represented a new form of perseverance and strength. We, the many, accomplished a dream.



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