On April 21, 1980 twenty minutes after learning that Roman had died by suicide, I received a birthday present from him, the card read, “All the best in your swimming”.

Roman was a CIAU Swimming Champion and Athlete of the Year at Laurention University for three years in a row. When Roman died he was working on his Masters thesis in Sociology at McMaster University. Although eight years seperated us we were very close.

When I got on the blocks at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles I had been through it all, I had nothing to lose. In the last five metres I knew I had it. Hitting the wall I looked in the stands and my mom was there. I remembered Roman’s note and thought, “I am an Olympic Champion”.

Alex Baumann
Olympic Gold Medalist and World Record Holder

Photographer’s note: Alex is photographed with his son Ashton after a morning swim workout.

Alex Baumann, Ottawa Ontario

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