My Sportsman: Alberto Salazar
For a latter-day Alberto Salazar Sportsman of the Year story I might write --and more or less
Sport is about the individual spirit, the miracle of the human body, and teamwork, and what followed wrapped all those things into one. Salazar's athletes ran and phoned for help, while two mammoth football coaches trained in CPR somehow kept blood flowing until paramedics could shock his heart back to beating. Now Salazar is back, coaching, yet knowing that he has been dealt a bad genetic hand.
If all Salazar had done was survive a heart attack, I wouldn't be nominating him for honors of any sort. Rather I'm putting forth his name because he has learned from his vulnerabilities, as both a sportsman and a mortal human being.
As a coach, he imparts lessons of the vanquished athlete he learned the hard way. He guards against overtraining his runners as he once overtrained himself, yet honors the drive of the Africans who have made distance running their own, and revels in the promise and coachability of the young Americans in his stable.
As a heart-attack survivor, he has gracefully embraced a new public role at midlife, ready to do for heart disease what
For those twin achievements, he's my Sportsman of the Year. If you'd like to send him best wishes, address that card to the