by Guy Page
This morning, Vermont Olympic runner Elle Purrier St. Pierre finished 10th in the finals of the 1500 Meter Run in her first – but probably not last – Olympics.
Pushing hard from the start, Elle ranked as high as third place in the early running, but slipped back as the three eventual medalers made their move. She finished with a time of 4 minutes, 1.75 seconds. Although not her best running time this year, even her best – three minutes, 58 seconds – would have finished her a full five seconds behind Kenyan runner Faith Kipyegon’s 3 minute, 53.11 second Olympic record.
The Richford Rocket’s Facebook post on the morning of the biggest race of her life focused not any future Olympic glory, but on inspiration from her grandmother. And butterflies.
Today is the day! The Olympic final. I’ll be lining up proud and honored to represent the great country that is The United States of America. Ready to fight and to leave it all on the track because that is what we are made of.
Although there are many people I’d like to thank and things I’d like to say, i think I’ll save it for after and just leave you with this one piece that is giving me strength in my race tomorrow.
Beverly Taisey Purrier was born in 1921. She was a woman before her time. She went to college and had a self supporting career for many years before she met her husband. At the age of 40 (which was practically unheard of in the year of 1962) she had her first and only child…my dad.
I was always very close with my grandmother as we shared many of the same interests and personality traits such as being independent and strong willed, but also having classful taste and appreciating the details in life. She loved flowers (red geraniums) and she especially loved butterflies. I vividly remember all of her butterfly decorations covering her house and how she always wore butterfly scarves. In the last few months leading up to the Olympics I have felt her presence with me on many occasions but nothing quite like on Wednesday night.
Approximately 10 seconds after I found out that my time had advanced me to the Olympic final, I turned to talk to a reporter for an interview and right as I did I saw something so beautiful but peculiarly out of place. It was a butterfly that fluttered inches away from me and then off into the stadium center, and I immediately knew it was a sign from her.
Maybe it was because I asked the reporter if she saw the same thing as I did or maybe it was because the butterfly was so obviously misplaced but she asked me if it meant something to me…and I without a doubt in my mind said yes it means very much to me.
She is with me, she loves me and she is so proud.