ABJ GUEST BLOG:
Our 9 year-old grandson is finally old enough to enjoy watching the Olympics with the family. Tonight, while watching Michael Phelps compete, I explained to our grandson that Aly died in a car accident on the way home from Seattle after watching Michael compete in an Olympic qualifying meet. I told our grandson how Michael heard about the accident, and sent a handwritten note expressing condolences along with a signed copy of Sports Illustrated.
Our grandson was two when Aly was killed, but still remembers her. Now, as he watches the Olympics with us, he knows the fully story.
Our family loves watching the Olympics, especially swimming and gymnastics, yet they will remain forever bittersweet. It was Aly’s goal to compete in London in 2012 and at age 15, she was poised to stand on the state podium within weeks. And then tragedy struck on August 5, 2009.
But she wasn’t forgotten.
Every August, Aly’s beloved team hosts an open water swim featuring 800 meter, 2.5K, 5K, and 10K races. In 2009, just five days before the accident that claimed her life, my 5’2″ 15-year-old daughter competed in this open water race for the first time. Going head to head against master swimmers of all ages, Aly was the first female to finish, first in her age group, and third overall, earning her first open water trophy and two medals. She died 5 days later.
Now called the Aly Fell Memorial Open Water swim, on this coming Saturday hundreds of swimmers, including her team’s 400 MR which is currently ranked 8th in the nation, will swim in Aly’s memory.
#SoGrateful #SwimFellyFierce #BBST
…supporting your journey to a new normal.
Barbara J Hopkinson
President & Executive Director