Siobhan-Marie O’Connor won silver medal in women’s 200-meter individual medley final in Rio Olympics despite suffering from a chronic bowel disease. She finished the final in an impressive 2 minutes and 6.88 seconds, finishing second behind Katinka Hosszu who clinched the gold for Hungary, on Wednesday, 10th August, 2016.
This was a great achievement for O’Connor as it not only showed her resilience against a disease which can cause extreme fatigue, weight loss and dehydration but also her win upped the tally of the Great Britain swim team to 4, and overall medal tally to a total of 13.
But O’Connor got much closer than many had anticipated, her breaststroke leg put her within touching distance before the Hungarian took gold in an Olympic record just three-tenths of a second clear. “I’ve probably had my most consistent block of work I’ve ever had so I was really confident because I can have disruptions,” she said of her ongoing battle with ulcerative colitis. “This was brilliant and I’m over the moon with that result.”
Her ulcerative colitis is a lifelong condition that causes ulcers in the colon and rectum, making them inflamed. Small ulcers can develop on the lining of the colon which can lead to bleeding and produce pus. Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea which can contain blood, mucus or pus, abdominal pain, needing to empty bowels frequently, extreme fatigue, drowsiness and dehydration.
The severity of this disease varies from person to person and is dependent on the severity of the inflammation where some individuals can go for months without displaying any severe reactions. However, in some extreme cases patients have shown red eyes, mouth ulcers and even red skin.
The 20-year-old Brit was over the moon after her victory, saying, “It feels pretty unreal. I’m not trying to cry but it is the best feeling in the world. I have worked so hard for it. It has been tough but it is so, so worth it.”