OUR OWN KIRSTY !          - 4/9/2008      <--Prev : Next-->

There are some beautiful stories that come out of teenagers leaving their home and family to pursue a dream here in America. Kirsty Coventry gives us one of those almost too fantastic to believe stories. She is an athlete that provides hope to an entire country .....

Born in Harare, Zimbabwe Kirsty realized in high school that she loved swimming, enough so that she wanted to go to the United States to try and achieve goals not possible in her native country. She had never heard of a school called 'Auburn' until she spoke with some of her older swimming countrymen who had swam in America. In fact, she and her current Texas coach Kim Bracken still laugh about Kim's visit to Zimbabwe to recruit Kirsty. It was winter and Kim didn't understand that pools in Zimbabwe aren't heated, making it almost impossible to train year-round, yet she had come to watch Kirsty swimso, eager to please, Kirsty hopped in a pool and swam for a while, until she turned blue. It's not only a funny story, but also reveals the different world in which Kirsty grew up. A world in which she has been declared a 'national treasure' and has a high a profile as possible.

Kirsty Leigh Coventry (born September 16, 1983 in Harare, Zimbabwe) is a Zimbabwean swimmer and world record holder. She attended and swam competitively for Auburn University in Alabama, in the United States.[5] At the 2004 Summer Olympics, in Athens, Greece, Coventry won three Olympic medals: a gold, a silver, and a bronze and in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing she won four medals: a gold and three silver.

She was subsequently described by Paul Chingoka, head of the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, as "our national treasure".

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has called her "a golden girl,"and awarded her US$100,000 in cash for her 2008 Summer Olympic Games performance.

We are so proud of you Kirsty....