This is the story of an US swimmer who has won over her Crohn’s disease, and managed to be at Rio 2016
Kathleen Baker was eleven years old when she felt in love with the Olympic Games. She was watching the 2008 Beijing Games.
She watched literally everything the TV broadcasted, she didn’t miss any bit of the Olympics. She watched them all. She decided, then, that one day she would be there, at the Olympic Games, as an athlete.
Even though she was so young, she acknowledged that the Olympic path would have required many sacrifices, as a teenager and young woman. She embraced them with joy, because, she said
“The Olympics means the world to me.”
Being a professional swimmer despite the Crohn’s disease
Sever years ago, the doctors told Kathleen that she’s got the Crohn’s disease, a chronic disease that affects the digestive system. It’s a very bad disease, painful and not curable at 100%.
In the United States only, 700.000 people were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Kathleen was gutted by the news, at the beginning: Crohn’s disease could have jeopardised everything she was doing to reach her Olympic dream. In fact, the disease put her career as a professional swimmer in danger. Kathleen lost a lot of weigh, and thought that her goal of being a competitive swimmer and an Olympian was over right before getting seriously started to working on them.
Kathleen didn’t lose her heart, though. She is such a stubborn and positive young lady. She worked hard to figure out how to combine her trainings and the athlete’s lifestyle with the Crohn’s disease, which is quite invalidating for many aspects.
She learnt to live with the stranger in her body, the Crohn’s disease, knowing many things about the disease. For example, she found out that she could eat only specific food, and that she might not have many other food ‘regular’ people can eat.
On a psychological point of view, she learnt how to accept the fact that she won’t be eating all the food she’d like to have, and sometimes she might be feeling really bad, because of the combination between her training and Crohn’s disease.
She’s faced the Crohn’s disease awakening, the trainings limitations and – sometimes – forced stops in her swimming routine. Because Crohn’s disease is a real bitch, and never gives up.
But Kathleen Baker doesn’t give up too; she’s too strong and determined to let the disease win over her Olympic goal.
Kathleen made it through the tough US Swimming Trials, and now she’s ready to compete at Rio 2016 at 100m backstroke.