Olympic Gold Medal and Iraq Come Together
One of the big stories to come out of the Olympics last night was the gold medal victory by 28-year-old Stephanie Brown Trafton in the women’s discus throw. She became the first US woman to win a gold medal since 1932 and the first one to win ANY medal since 1984.
Obviously her story is very inspiring, how she first dreamed of going to the Olympics as a four year old watching Mary Lou Retton compete. At the time she wanted to be a gymnast but, once she grew to over six feet tall, it became clear she’d need to find another event to compete in.
However one part of the story that has not been as widely-reported deals with the picture above of her celebrating her victory by holding an American flag. This is not just any American flag but a very special one indeed. One of Stephanie’s neighbors is a man named George Kirbyson. George is a 14-year veteran of the US Air Force, an Iraq war veteran who recently returned from active duty.
In Iraq he got a flag at a US military base three years ago and carried it with him during several missions. He considered it to be a good-luck symbol and he was allowed to bring it back home to fly in front of his house. When Stephanie was preparing to leave for China, he took the flag over to her and told her that it had been good luck for him and wanted it to be good luck for her.
She promised that, if she managed to win a medal, that she would take a victory lap with the flag. And when she managed to pull off the upset and win the gold, she kept her promise.
So when she took that victory lap there were a few of our veterans out there with her.
As Paul Harvey would say, there is the story behind the story.