Athlete Spotlight - Magdalena Lewy-Boulet
Just like every American citizen old enough to recall the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Magdalena Lewy-Boulet remembers exactly where she was that tragic day.
It’s a day that will always carry a great sense of pride for Americans and even more so for Lewy-Boulet.
Being born and spending much of her youth in Poland, Lewy-Boulet, a 2008 Olympian for Team USA in the marathon, was on her way to San Francisco to officially become a U.S. citizen. As her entire ceremony was condensed from three hours to just five minutes, the newest American citizen returned to her car to follow the news.
“I think about the few minutes when I sat in my car with my husband and I was just speechless,” she said when asked what she remembers the most. “I woke up that morning and I knew it was going to be a significant day. But I never knew how significant.”
With the ten-year anniversary of that day this Sunday, Lewy-Boulet reflects back on one of the more significant moments of her life.
“Every year, I think about it a lot,” she said. “I am reminded of when I was sworn in and I feel a sense of responsibility and pride. I celebrate the fact that I do have the privilege of being an American citizen.”
With her American citizenship came opportunities she would have only been able to dream about otherwise. It was not only a significant day for Lewy-Boulet personally, but also as a proven marathon and distance runner.
As she continues to train and compete in the sport that she loves, it is a consistent reminder of the positive side of her September 11. Among other accomplishments, she was able to qualify for the Olympic Marathon in 2008 by placing second at the Olympic Marathon Trials. She also currently owns the 10th fastest American marathon time ever.
“My life is very different,” she said about the past ten years. “The opportunities that have come my way have opened the door to many different experiences. I have had an amazing journey and I’m looking forward to many more experiences still to come.”
The most important of those potential experiences includes a return trip to the Olympic Games. Lewy-Boulet has qualified for the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, which will be held January 14 in Houston, Texas. She currently holds the fourth fastest qualifying time in the country at 2:26.22. It is also her personal best, which ranks No. 10 all-time in the USA.
“The big goal and what I am applying all of my time and energy toward is the Olympic Marathon Trials,” she said. “The most important goal that I have right now is to make the Olympic team in the marathon.”
Lewy-Boulet hopes that her already proven success at the Olympic Marathon Trials will work in her favor this time around, but also hopes for a better end result at the Olympic Games. In preparation for the 2008 Olympic Marathon, she injured her knee and was forced to drop out of the race after the 20-kilometer mark. While the experience of representing Team USA was something she will never forget, being forced to withdraw was difficult to handle.
But for Lewy-Boulet the process comes one goal at a time.
“My expectations are to make the team,” she said. “I would love to be able to represent the United States at the Olympics once again. It’s going to be very competitive and there will be more than a handful of women competing for three spots. It’s not going to be easy.”
There are goals for the Olympic Marathon Trials along with the track and field season which will quickly follow.
On Sunday, American citizens around the world will reflect on the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. For Lewy-Boulet, it becomes an annual day to reflect on all she has gone through.
“It’s a lot of different emotions,” she said. “My son (Owen) is six years old. This is the first year I can share with him what happened that day.”
And it’s a story she will will be able to tell for many years to come.
USA Track & Field