Since Ohio’s Tate beat me to the punch about the 2006 Rose Bowl and how it’s the great college football game of all time (hook ‘em), I’m also here to talk about someone completely irrelevant to my life: Swampna Barman.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you, Barman has 12 toes. And she happens to be the first Indian athlete to win an Asian gold in the heptathlon. Imagine how difficult it is to win gold, now tack on a physical deformity that not only furthers the challenge, but also the pain.
“I use normal shoes worn by people who have normal five toes. It really pains during training. It is very uncomfortable, whether I wear spikes or normal shoes.”
Sometimes if my socks are too thick, my sneakers feel a little too snug and my dogs are barking after a casual run. From thick socks. Barman has to squeeze an extra toe into each shoe and perform at a professional level, against people who don’t have to deal with the discomfort of ill-fitting shoes.
Not everyone is dealt an easy hand; some people have to work twice as hard as everyone else just to be on the same playing field. And then work even harder to triumph. Barman is one of these people, and for that reason Adidas is stepping up and making her a custom shoe that will hopefully lessen her shoe pain.