Native News Network Staff in Entertainment. Discussion »
SHAWNEE, OKLAHOMA As Olympian Synchro swimmer Mary Killman performed her routine on Tuesday morning, she had a special proud audience watching her every move as millions of other viewers around the world also watched.
Olympian Mary Killman - Citizen Potawatomi with
Duet Partner Mariya Koroleva
Tribal members of the Citizens Potawatomi Nation were that audience watching on NBC. Killman is special to this Tribe because she is one of their own. Born in Ada, Oklahoma, Killman is a member of the Citizens Potawatomi Naiton.
Killman's own long and winding - she's lived in 42 places in her 21 short years - road took her to the Beatles' home country for this week's Olympic competition. Killman performed on the largest stage of her career as a duet synchronized swimmer -the London Olympics.
Killman and duet partner, Mariya Koroleva earned their way into Tuesday's synchronized swimming final in tenth place among the 24 duets invited to London. But, their first two-days scores left them trailing the elite teams - Russia, Spain, China, and Japan- and out of medal contention.
Tuesday Killman's fellow Citizen Potawatomi Nation members and employees took time from their normal workday to savor the moment of watching the Synchro's artistry and cheer her on. MK2 as the American duet is affectionately known, posted a finals score of 87.700 to finish 11th in this Olympiad.
Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina extended Russia's domination to win the gold with a score of 98.900 points. They haven't lost an Olympic Synchro event since the 1996 Atlanta Games. Spain took home the silver, while the Chinese duet finished with the bronze medal.
Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Penny Coates was excited about a fellow tribal member's competing in the Olympics.
Now, Killman will swim her way toward Rio and
the 2016 Olympic Games
“To know that we have one of our own people, whom we are probably related to in a very close way, competing in London makes you really proud,”
“Especially in an event that is so beautiful.”
“I think it is pretty incredible, awesome, that our tribe is being represented at such a huge sports event,”
said Paige Willett, a Citizen Potawatomi Nation member and University of Oklahoma student,
“especially since, traditionally, Potawatomi are competitive people.”
Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Mary Powell described feeling "a thrill of excitement. You can feel it on the inside".
Powell likes synchronized swimming,
“I think it's really, really beautiful. Those young ladies have to be right on it, precise.”
Jason Greenwalt said he is impressed by his fellow CPN member's accomplishments and by the time and effort she has invested.
“Synchronized swimmers put in a lot of time, dedication, and effort. To be able to swim underwater like that, holding your breath, is very impressive,”
On her blog earlier this week, Killman described a practice period in the Olympic pool, during which all duets preparing to compete in a section are allowed in the pool at one time.
“This 30-45 minutes is basically a free-for-all,”
“All the duets in that section are allowed in the pool at once, so if you're not careful you can run over someone!, or be the unfortunate one who is run over. Not a contact sport, hmm?”
Killman included in her blog post some inside-information advice about the very visible television monitors: Don't watch the screen while you're competing.
"Our deck looks straight at the video, the problem is that it is slightly delayed, so what you see up there has already happened. Not gonna lie, there was a point during our walk out that I saw the screen and was very confused as to why my counts weren't matching up with what I saw. Thank goodness I didn't miss any steps because of it!"
Given her youthful age, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation crowd looks forward to four years. Perhaps, Killman will swim her way to Rio where the 2016 Olympic Games will be held.
Editor's Note: Special thanks to the Public Information Office of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation for contributing a great portion of this story.
posted August 9, 2012 8:20 am edt