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
"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.