On August 2, Russian freediver Natalia Molchanova dove off the coast of Spain and never resurfaced. While her whereabouts are unknown, search efforts subsided after three days of efforts yielded no results. Over the course of her career, Molchanova set 41 world records and won 21 gold medals. She was the first woman to pass 100 meters diving with constant weight and the first woman to dive on one breath through Egypt’s Blue Hole arch. On some occasions, her dive times have bested those of the top male competitors.
Image courtesy of The Guardian
While some viewed Molchanova’s passion for diving as reckless, members of the diving community argued the opposite. The sport requires tremendous levels of focus and calm, allowing the divers to respond to underwater stress and hold their breath to complete the dive. Fellow divers remembered her tremendous spirit, her investment in her competitors’ successes, and her incredible focus that seemed to get better with age.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
As a practiced diver, Molchanova understood the risks and took necessary precautions to minimize unnecessary hazards; unfortunately, we may never know what led to her untimely death. But as her colleagues attested, risk is a part of life no matter what a person does; Molchanova’s expert knowledge of the ocean and her razor-sharp technique made the sport seem as risky as any other part of life. Her confidence in herself and her abilities led to tremendous success in a field where anyone else might crumble, serving as an example of how to dream big and chase lofty goals. We salute you, Natalia.