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Flip turn

"Flip turn" Continued...

Issue: "2004 Olympics Preview," Aug. 14, 2004

Mr. Davis says he saw it coming: "This one hurt badly, but I wasn't totally shocked. I've been struggling for two years now with not going really, really fast." Now he must decide how much he wants to change his lifestyle from the past decade. "I've gotten a lot of advice to hang it up and retire," Mr. Davis says. But nothing would change. He says he'd still go to the pool as often as possible. He'd still compete, and since the only real competition he can find is at the large national meets, he'd still go to those. "Retire? I don't know how to retire. . . . Yet I've got a pile of bills, and a family that wants me to be full of energy."

Late in July, as Mr. Davis pondered the next steps of his life, he spoke of how the Tour de France enchanted him. "I've been watching Lance Armstrong this week," Mr. Davis said as the American cyclist wrapped up his sixth consecutive Tour victory: "Up until a year ago, I wondered how he did it. He had all the business savvy, all the success, and the family." But it turned out this year that rock star Sheryl Crow, not Mr. Armstrong's ex-wife and children, was cheering on the cyclist in France: "You can't do it without Jesus."

Winning apart from God and family doesn't sit well with Mr. Davis: "I could be down on my luck and in transition and out of a job. But if I'm right with my God, my wife, and my kids, I'll be OK." Mr. Davis laughs as he realizes he has borrowed the line from the script he uses with children. He says talking about frustration always made him feel awkward: How can someone so successful speak about a life in transition? But he's no longer uncomfortable with the subject. Mr. Davis is living it.

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