The audience’s guilt: SI’s Pat Forde is very happy to see his daughter Brooke swimming at the Olympics, hoping to have his company

Anyone who has reported on the Olympics or the World Cup, or in past home games of Notre Dame de Paris, knows that the cheers at the press conference may be more than expected. It can be said that it is difficult for some reporters to restrain their patriotism. Pat Forde will not engage in this kind of behavior, and knows very well that it is not an ideal image for someone with an excellent resume: American Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, APSE Award winner, ESPN and Yahoo! National college sports writer! Now he is one of the most famous writers of “Sports Illustrated”.

So when his daughter Brooke Ford planned to swim in the U.S. Olympic trials last month, he gave up his press certificate and sat in the stands of the Chi Health Center in Omaha with his wife Tricia, and Several family and friends from Stanford, where Brook won the NCAA championship and obtained a degree in human biology. All this went well, and Brook finally won a place in the 4x200m relay of the 32nd Olympic Games.

However, Ford will not be able to use this method at the Tokyo Olympics. He will report for SI, which is his seventh summer Olympic mission since 1992. Because he is qualified as a reporter, he can watch his daughter participate in the competition in person as an Olympian. It will be the swimmers in the swimming pool, the reporters and staff of the news platoon putting the whole thing on TV. But it is almost certain that those with journalistic qualifications will be required to stay in the area designated by the Olympic Aquatics Center for the media.

“I have been thinking about it. In other situations, it is always easy to literally leave the news row and stand up, and then I can cheer,” Ford told Sports News. “But I don’t think I will be allowed to do this. There will be no other people in the venue, I don’t think. But in any case, they don’t want you to yell. Because they think it might spread the disease.

“When they still have fans, they say: They ask people not to actually cheer. So if I open my mouth, I don’t know: Will I lose my certificate? I don’t know! I haven’t crossed that bridge yet. , I’m not sure how to deal with it.”

As one of the parents of the few American athletes participating in these games, Ford needs to consider many things.

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The U.S. Olympic Committee has designed a grand virtual viewing party for family members of Universal Studios Orlando, where those with the deepest connection to American Olympians can experience the thrill of victory — or the pain of defeat — and other understandings People. Each athlete has two guests who can be invited to participate in the competition. Pat’s son Mitchell, who swims for Missouri, will participate with his fiance. Tricia will watch in Louisville, and family and friends will gather at her sister’s home.

With the exception of Peter Andrew, the father of the 100-meter breaststroke ace Michael, one of the eight assistant coaches of the United States Swimming Team, almost every family member with athletes in the Olympic pool will be in the United States. Of course, there is also Ford.

“I feel very lucky,” Ford said, “but there are also things that resemble the guilt of survivors. It’s like: Why am I the one who can walk? Especially my wife Tricia, who is a swimmer. She is so true. She was the first to bring the children to the swimming pool. She also got up at 4:05 in the morning to make breakfast for them much more times than me, and took them to practice at 5 in the morning more often than I did. A lot of sweat was put into it, she couldn’t go. And I really felt sorry for her.

“I feel sorry for Brooke’s brothers. They have been swimmers all their lives. They can’t go. But so are everyone else. Simone Biles’s family can’t go. And Katie Ledecky and Kyler Deecky. Caleb Dressel and all the track and field stars and Kevin Durant. It’s a bit overwhelming to think that I’m going to leave.

“I think: Hey, our profession has its benefits occasionally. But I never thought it would be like this.”

Ford’s career was built on the college basketball and football expertise he gained when he reported on the Kentucky Wildcats for the Louisville Messenger magazine in his early years. Later, as one of the newspaper’s two sports columnists, he focused on these two sports. He moved to ESPN in 2004 and then to Yahoo! Seven years later. During that time, as Mitchell became a state champion and was recruited by Pat’s alma mater, as Clayton became a qualifier for the NCAA tournament in Georgia for the 2019-20 season, Brook’s time and achievements at Stanford University surpassed After all, Pat started to excel in Olympic swimming.

Therefore, when he was hired by Sports Illustrated in the fall of 2019, he knew that he would cover the Tokyo Olympics, with a focus on swimming competitions. “I’m pretty sure,” Ford said. “My daughter is not.”

At that time, no one knew. Of course, there would be big doubts about whether these sports meets would be held. One month after announcing the COVID1-9 pandemic, the International Olympic Committee and Japan agreed in April last year to postpone the Olympic Games until this month. This has had an impact on Brooke’s hopes of becoming the American team.

In July 2018, she swam in 4 minutes 35.09 seconds in the 400-meter individual medley. This was her best individual competition and was one of the 10 fastest in American history. Nearly three years from that peak, she won the sixth place in the 4:38.69 trial. Only the top two are guaranteed positions.

However, if she can complete the relay for that distance with a high enough score in the 200-meter freestyle, and if the correct combination of swimmers is eligible to participate in multiple competitions to maintain the roster, she still has a chance to enter the team. Brook is in The sixth place in that game, a quarter of a second faster than Gabby DeLoof, proved enough to become a team.

“The end result is incredible excitement and relief, just seeing the expression on her face, how excited and happy she is. This makes everything valuable,” Ford said. “You see, everyone in this country is experiencing tremendous difficulties in various forms and ways. She is very sensitive because it is related to a certain time in her life, when she had the opportunity to try to realize the dream of her life. During the 15 months there, she overcame a lot of struggles, anxiety, and difficulties-it was not easy, but with the help of her coach, peers, Stanford University classmates, and many others.

“The actual Olympic trials itself is incredibly exciting. Every day, I walk from the hotel to the swimming pool and think: “I can’t believe my children are not only here, but also have opportunities. “That’s such a wonderful feeling. However, the pressure and tension that follow are considerable.”

Believe it or not, a useful device: Twitter.Ford congratulates him on his success @ByPatForde account Brooke swam 400 IM, then 200 free, mainly from colleagues in sports journalism, but also from people who follow him.

When it ends, His article on Brooke’s pursuit of the Olympic team position It has been favorited 5,800 times and attracted comments from college football analyst Mike Golic, NBC swimming commentator Dan Hicks, and former North Carolina Athletic Director Debbie Yow.

“That means a lot. It’s incredibly gratifying. It’s great to have so many people reach out and say,’Hey, congratulations,'” Pat said. “During the NCAA basketball tournament, I can’t count how many writers bore me in the media studio, telling stories about my kids swimming, or letting them watch videos on their laptops. It’s great for people to respond like this.

“Sports reporters get bad reviews—sometimes well-deserved—but there are many good people in this industry. Of course I feel this to a large extent.”

When I talked to Ford, it was before he left for Japan. He is heading to Lexington, which is more than an hour away from his home, for a COVID-19 test. Now, of course they have such a test in Louisville, but the Japanese consulate only recognizes one test site in Kentucky. Good news: he passed.

There are still several hours of agreement to follow after arriving in Tokyo. Going to these major international events is always a challenge, but it is obviously a different level.

There is no news village for the Olympic Games, so Ford will stay in the hotel with other staff assigned by SI. Whether he will have the opportunity to meet Brook in person is not certain. There should be some kind of mixed area for reporters to interview athletes. Ford said that the athletes’ village will be “extremely blocked.”

However, Pat will see Brooke when he enters the pool deck on the morning of July 28 to participate in the preliminaries of the 4×200 relay race. When the game starts, he will draw a split chart of the team, which is something he often does to help him stay calm and focused. He hopes to invite some sports journalists and friends nearby to record live videos on their mobile phones.

Pat wondered if Brooke would look for him in the audience before the event. In most cases, she doesn’t, and prefers to focus on the game. In any case, he would wave to her.

However, this time, Brooke’s peek may be worth it.

Because it shouldn’t be a problem to find her father.

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