Most sporting comebacks feature a lot of hype and disappointing outcomes. Today’s Psyche entry is about one that’s so absurdly audacious that it’s almost devoid of hype. This morning in Nevada, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, Alexi Grewal, lines up for his first official professional bike race in 17 years. He’s 50.
I love comebacks even though I rarely expect much from them. It’s simple human nature to wonder how a retired sports icon would fare against the day’s young bucks. Generally, the answer is not as well as we’d like. And, even if predicted, these non-dominant outcomes often tarnish reputations. No one needed to see Ali get pummeled by Trevor Berbick, Jordan chalking up garbage time minutes, or Armstrong finish 67th in the Tour Down Under. But the idea of a comeback is hopelessly romantic. Society will never turn its back on an attempt.
I guess this is true of Grewal, too, if only in a very small way. A few companies have pitched him product, the community he lives in has been helping him financially, and there’s been a few articles written about him. But he’s hardly getting major press. I’m pretty sure there’s not a coffee table book in the works.
What makes Grewal’s comeback particularly inspiring is that it’s driven by love of sport. He’s not a bored billionaire who misses the limelight. The Texan probably makes more money in a day than Grewal’s made in the last decade. He’s just a guy who rides his bike a lot who got motivated to see how he’d stack up against today’s youth and decided to make whatever sacrifices were necessary in order to find out. How can you not love that?
Follow the action on Grewal’s blog, Back In Among The Wheels