SEARCH 2000 Games

Friday, November 6, 1998
PROFILE: Joanne Malar
Malar makes her cousin's day

By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

Great moments in sport sometimes occur outside state-of-the-art stadia and arenas.

Such was the case recently at the Swansea Community Centre pool, when 12-year-old Lauren Macijiwsky climbed out of the water and was greeted by her cousin, Canadian swim great Joanne Malar.

"You're really awesome Lauren," said Malar, wrapping her cousin in a giant bear hug. "She's grown up so much. She's a little fish."

Malar, one of the really nice people in amateur sport, arrived tired that Thursday afternoon, having just returned from a month-long trip that included stops in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the Commonwealth Games, a tour of South Africa and a skins competition in Sydney, Australia.

But watching her cousin Lauren, who has William's Syndrome, a genetic disorder which results in an overall developmental delay, swim a couple of laps at the Swansea pool, lifted her spirits immeasurably. It was difficult to tell who was inspired more, Macijiwsky or Malar. Showing off her technique in front of her famous cousin was a wonderful moment for Macijiwsky and her family ... and for Malar.

"She is probably one of the most courageous girls and one of the happiest people I know," said Malar, who won her record 21st Canadian title at the national championships this past August at the Etobicoke Olympium. "She's an inspiration to everybody."

Susan Macijiwsky said her daughter decided to become a swimmer after watching Malar compete at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Now she's looking forward to her first meet, this Sunday at Variety Village.

The cousins talked for a few minutes and Lauren Macijiwsky was asked what stroke she enjoyed most.

"All of them," she said. "Just like Joanne.

"I think my cousin really likes me," Macijiwsky said as the pair posed for a photograph.

"Oh Lauren," Malar said, with a smile as golden as her five-medal performance at the Commonwealth Games. "I love you."

Certainly a major-league afternoon.

OLYMBITS: Several former American Olympians who finished behind East Germans at Games in the 1970s and '80s are demanding the International Olympic Committee award them belated gold medals, based on revelations the Communist regime's sports system was built on systematic doping.

There's just one problem with that. Who's to say the Americans were clean? They claim they were and most passed drug tests at the time. But the U.S. drug-testing system wasn't exactly cutting edge during those years, and there was very little out-of-competition testing conducted on American athletes.

Hell, the U.S. Olympic Committee set up a non-punitive testing program prior to the 1984 Los Angeles Games to "educate" athletes about testing. The real purpose was to screen the Olympic stars and prevent embarrassing positive tests in L.A.
Joanne Malar in the news
Malar, Limpert a contrast in styles
Malar finishes seventh in 400 IM
Happier Malar ready for Sydney
Malar in pictures
7th in Sydney
Kisses for her fans
Reacting to her time
Thumbs up, new uniform
With Mike
Celebrating a win
Bronze 4x200m team
Blowing a kiss
Backstroke practice