Her good luck charm has been returned

By Emily Kirkpatrick
August 09, 2016 06:27 AM
Ian MacNicol/Getty

We’re officially in the full swing of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. And while the sports themselves are obviously the main attraction this month, the arrival of the Rio Olympics also means the arrival of all of those personal anecdotes and training montages from the competing athletes designed to tug on your heart strings and captivate your imagination. One such story: that of the silver medal swimmer who lost her pearl earring at the bottom of the pool, which sounds like an old-timey allegory, but is in fact exactly what happened to Kathleen Baker.

On Sunday, during the preliminaries for the 100m women’s backstroke, Kathleen lost one of her signature pearl earrings to Rio’s Olympic pool, the depths of which reach almost ten feet. Thankfully, a diver went down to search for the earrings, uncovering the pearl in Baker’s own lane around the 15 meter mark. The whole affair inspired a Vermeer-related quip from NBC’s reporter who joked that the silver medal winner, “remains the girl with two pearl earrings.”

RELATED VIDEO: Road to Rio: How Did Team USA Train for the Olympics?

But that’s not the only thing the Olympic swimmer has overcome on her journey towards qualifying for these Rio games. Though she went on to win the silver medal for the 100m backstroke, her personal battle with Crohn’s Disease has threatened her athletic career in the past. She told the cameras after her victory, “I couldn’t even put into words how happy I am and how grateful for the amount of support I have here from the teammates and coaches along the way. It just takes a village for everyone to get me here and I couldn’t be happier.”

If the committee in charge of the 2020 Olympics are on the lookout for some new sports, however, we think the pearl in the Olympic pool hunt would be an excellent addition. It will pair perfectly with that needle in a haystack competition we hear they’re working on.

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