Della Lorenzetti might have shared a disappointing moment with her client, sprint swimmer Milorad Cavic, at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, but that memory was washed away last month in Beijing as she watched him torpedo into second place just a 100th of a second behind gold medalist Michael Phelps in the men's 100m fly.
Lorenzetti, an Antioch resident and owner of Touch of Health massage and nutrition clinic at Antioch's In-Shape Sport club, traveled to Beijing for the summer games and was extremely pleased with Cavic's performance.
Lorenzetti said the sentiment is shared by Cavic's coach Mike Bottom. He (Bottom) is thrilled whenever his swimmers excel beyond their own capacity, and so am I.
Cavic did more than excel at the games; he broke an Olympic record, swimming the 100m fly semi-finals in 50:76. And then, Lorenzetti said, Michael Phelps broke that record in the finals.
When Cavic and Phelps squared off in the 100m fly finals, each knew how much the other wanted gold. The adrenaline, tension and competitive spirit was never more alive than in the Beijing Water Cube during that race, where in the end, Phelps' time of 50:58 beat Cavic's by 1/100th second.
Both of them have a story about overcoming obstacles, and they have many similarities, said Lorenzetti. Milorad Cavic has a story and Michael Phelps has a story both came to an apex in a race. You will never meet two finer people in your life than them. I have seen their glory and their disappointments.
I went to the Athens games with him and have seen Milorad pull through some tough times. He had a disastrous situation when his suit buckled and filled with water, causing him to lose a race, she recalled, remembering when Cavic had decided to retire after acquiring a painful lower back condition. But I found so many qualities and talents in him and encouraged him to believe in himself and know that he could accomplish anything in his life. I believe in him.
I admire him so much. I truly believe that Mike (Milorad) has so much passion that he could accomplish anything in life. When he identifies a goal, he does everything in his power to get it and keep it. It's that kind of integrity that I so much admire.
According to Lorenzetti, China also showed its integrity as host of the summer games. It was amazing to see everything. The fitness room in the Village was equipped with the most up-to-the-minute equipment, she said. China really seemed to want to show the world that they could have the best Olympics ever.
The massive Bird Nest stadium was an architectural wonder, she said, as was the Water Cube. Everyone was saying it was a very fast pool, Lorenzetti said, noting that lanes zero and nine were not used in order to allow more free flowing water for the competitors.
The Olympic Village, surrounded by coiled barbed wire and armed guards, was enormous. Nine-story buildings housed athletes from around the world. Each country would hang their flag from the top floor, Lorenzetti recalled. It reminded me of China's vision: One World, One Dream.
Lorenzetti said she met an Iranian weightlifter at the fitness center. We talked and joked, despite the differences in our cultures, she said. I so much enjoyed hearing about his life and laughing with him.
In Lorenzetti's opinion, the Olympics have a unique power to bring countries together and help foster an understanding of tolerance and peace throughout the world.