‘Marc Evers from the Netherlands,’ echoes around the London Aquatics Centre. It’s the 31st of August, 2012, and on the stands flanking the water are seventeen thousand people. The frantic crowd is predominantly British, but a closer look reveals specks of orange: supporters with the Dutch national flag, and T-shirts sporting the slogan ‘Marc the Shark’.
Marc doesn’t see all this when he enters the swimming arena. He’s been performing his yoga routine in a silent room: inhaling calmly, breathing out thoroughly, closing himself off from all the excitement surrounding this race: there is the pressure to perform, and a host of television cameras will capture every second and beam the pictures around the world.