Someone pretty special died this week.
Amongst the victims of the tragic helicopter crash in Argentina was 25 year old Camille Muffat, who at only 22 years old, won three medals in the 2012 Olympics, setting an Olympic record in the 400-meter freestyle in the process.
But way beyond her extraordinary aquatic abilities, which saw her training for six hours a day from the tender age of 14, was her remarkably mature outlook on life.
For belying her machine-like frame which saw her standing at six foot tall, she had an inner simplicity which underpinned her retirement at just 24 years old.
Taking the French public by surprise, the 2012 French Sportswoman of the Year cited her reasons for retirement quite simply. After ten years of intense training, she wanted to “profiter de la vie” – to enjoy life.
You got it. She just wanted to enjoy life.
“De goûter à une vie normale” - to taste a normal life.
Breathe in those words.
What stunning maturity from a young girl who knew more glory than most of us could dream of.
“My body could have taken another 10 years of training and competition but I wanted to be the mistress of my own destiny,” she told L’Equipe. “I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a swimming pool.”
And it was with that splendid independence of spirit that she left this world. A world so often blinded by things that don’t even feature in our last days.
It is, of course, bitterly ironic, that just a year after retiring to live life, hers was so cruelly cut short. She understood the secret of happiness way before so many of us, yet had no real time to enjoy it.
Let that be a lesson to us all.