Memoirs of Berlin games inspire Foster in London
Australian swimmer Sally Foster has said her great aunt’s 76-year-old memoirs from the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games are inspiring her in London.
The 27-year-old from Perth qualified for the women’s 200m breaststroke semi-finals on Wednesday and is looking to reach Thursday’s final having made her Olympic debut in Beijing four years ago.
She comes from a swimming pedigree: her mother introduced her to swimming and her great aunt Evelyn Whillier, nee de Lacy, was a national champion and competed as a 19-year-old at the 1936 Olympics.
Foster is reading her relative’s diary during the eight-day swimming competition in London and said she is fascinated by her great aunt’s writings on the Games held in Nazi Germany.
The 1936 Games entered the history books for Jesse Owens’ four gold medals on the athletics track which ruined Adolf Hitler’s dreams of Aryan glory for the hosts on the eve of World War II.
“My great aunt was called Evelyn de Lacy and I have brought her diary over to read going into this to see what she was going through,” said Foster, whose great aunt passed away in 2004.
“It took them eight weeks to travel over and they were the first team to arrive in Berlin.
“She describes what it was like walking out for the opening ceremony and saluting Hitler.
“I don’t think she met him, but she said she saw a lot of interesting things, but it was extremely different to what is going on here.
“She didn’t medal. I think she got to the semis, but back then it was a knock-out round, which is different to now.
“She was fifth-fastest in her semi, so she didn’t make it, despite a fast time overall.
“She passed away a few years ago, but someone typed up her diary and her family have given it to me.”© AFP 2013
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