By Contributor David Meisel
June 18-July 3, 2022, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) held the World Swimming Championship competition in Budapest, Hungary. David Meisel was in the midst of a European expedition with his daughter and happened to be in Budapest as the event was gearing up. Through a number of media connections and conversations, he was able to walk the grounds and interact with the teams as they arrived. He provided some commentary and a slew of awesome pictures to share with our readers:
“As my daughter Gabi often says…I am not going to lie…it was pretty awesome to be on deck with so many amazing athletes from around the globe.
Yes, it was so great to see the faces of our local athletes like Katie (Ledecky) and Phoebe (Bacon) who we have seen grow up in Montgomery County (MoCo, Chevy Chase & Bethesda) and to see other Team USA Athletes…but for me…to see so many countries represented in such a short time…and so many truly awesome swimmers from around the globe was really very very exciting!”
Here’s a gallery of some of the different Countries represented by their flags, t-shits and warmups:
As David spent more time on deck, he was struck by the prevalence of the tattoos on the swimmers, more so the Olympic Ring tattoos:
“By the end of my time on deck as a special guest by the FINA media team, I became really fascinated by the Olympic rings. These rings showed up on necklaces, rings, and more often then not on athletes bodies. When we think of these 5 rings tattooed on the bodies of swimmers we admire, we think of those from the USA Olympic Team, but at this event, the rings were on so many athletes! So many that have been lucky enough to represent their home country, so many who may not have received a gold medal at a past Olympic games, but they were there…Tokyo, Rio, London. They were there and represented their country, their sport, at these most incredible games. I was awed by the pride each of these athletes possessed, to have been at the Olympics representing their home country, that they are a part of this elite athletic experience, that they have achieved something so incredible that they want to not only remember it, but to brand themselves with these rings for all they race to see. ”
“As much as one may think there is a standard to this ‘ring’ tattoo, there is not. Some have the 5 colors, others just 1 color, and the placement varied as much as the design. Most swimmers were super kind (this was days before competition began) as they were on deck ready to train, but also ready to give their friends from other countries huge hugs! When I would ask to take a photo of their Olympic Rings, everyone was more than happy to share. My favorite response was Lilly King who embarrassingly said: ‘Sure…but good luck with the yellow…it has almost vanished’.
“I am still at awe that I was able to be on deck, truly, it only happened through a series of random conversations.”
We hope you enjoy the video montage David created containing additional pictures from ‘behind the scenes’