Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

89. Vladimir Dyatchin

Age: 25

Born in Lipetsk, Dyatchin won the 10,000m open water world championship at the in 2003 in Seville. But discouraged by the prospects of his event gaining Olympic status, Dyatchin quit and joined his father's construction business. In 2005, he broke a clavicle in a road accident. As post-surgical treatment, the medics suggested swimming. To his amazement, Dyatchin realized that his repaired clavicle worked in the water even better than the original. Lured back by the IOC's decision to include the 10,000m this year in Beijing, Dyatchin regained his world championship in Melbourne in 2007, winning despite suffering lacerations he got from one seriously mean jellyfish. Good thing the Olympic race is in fresh water.