Argentinean sailor, Santiago Lange, topped off an emotional year with Olympic gold. Lange, the 54-year-old athlete, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015. It required surgery and the removal of Lange's left lung. For an Olympic athlete, losing a lung could be career-ending. Having already competed in 6 Olympics, it's conceivable Lange would take this opportunity to retire.
It's conceivable, but it's not what happened. Just five days after his surgery, Lange was not only up and moving, he was cycling. He was back to sailing within a month. Talk about dedication. For most of us, a common cold holds us back for a week. But Santiago Lange had one vision: GOLD.
"I was very lucky to find (the cancer). Probably if I wasn't traveling so much and wasn't so tired it wouldn't have been found. I see myself as very lucky," said Lange. "My philosophy and what I learned through the sport helped me a lot. With sailing you learn to suffer in a certain way, to go through hard times and stand up and keep pushing." Talk about mental strength.
Lange made it to the 2016 Olympics, competing with his sailing partner CecIlia Carranza Saroli. The duo won Olympic bronze in both 2004 and 2008, and were just happy to be at the games together for one more time. That happiness quickly grew as the pair won Olympic gold in the Nacra 17 mixed category.
It's an incredible story of perseverance and strength. Lange proved to us that no matter what hurdles are thrown at us there is always a way to push through and conquer.