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EXTINGUISHING THE FLAME

Simeon Kimbuutu knew the time had come. This was his personal finish line. His last Olympic Games. At 47 years of age, Simeon had accomplished all he could in his storied career as a long distance runner. He was a national hero in his country. The small African Nation of Calderone could never be more proud of their native son. Kimbuutu had won his share of medals. But he saw his last chance slipping away.

The runners from Kenya and Ethiopia were very strong and had dominated the sport since Simeon’s last gold medal finish. The Calderone harrier didn’t think he stood a chance against them now.

He had been slated to run the second heat of his event. His stretched his tight muscles, not truly getting relief or confidence. Simeon stood with his hands on his hips and looked around at the throng of spectators.

Bright banners were sparsely scattered throughout the stadium. The cacophonous roar filled his head, but did nothing to motivate Simeon. At that moment, all previous medals slipped from his memory. All the training he had done still left him ill-prepared for the fray. Being the oldest competitor in this young man’s sport had Kimbuutu feeling old.

Simeon looked to the end of the Paladia where the caldron stood ablaze. But, all he saw was an impossible feat. He held no passion. His feet felt like they had been cemented to the track. The starter called the runners to position.

But Simeon Kimbuutu had nothing left. He had lost his fire.

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