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Mariel Zagunis: Hard Work Makes Lasting Legacy

02/21/2013, 1:15pm CST
By MaryAnn Hudson

Gus Welsh stands in front of one of many Mariel Zagunis images at Notre Dame.

That Gus Welsh was down and a little bit out, not liking his situation, and mad at himself for wasting time in the past, is all understandable. At 25, he had spent eight years trying to get through college, taking time off to earn money, then going back to school, then work, then he’d do it all over again. He was one semester or so from graduating, and in his work phase, when he got a more important calling: his mom needed some help back home.So he’s there now, in South Bend, Ind., working two jobs. He unloads trucks for Walmart and is a janitor at Joyce Center, the athletic facility at the University of Notre Dame. His goal was to work for NASA, pushing the limits. Instead, he’s pushing a broom.

That’s where Olympian Mariel Zagunis comes in.

Both of Welsh’s jobs are at night. So one night, when he was not the least happy about cleaning toilets at Notre Dame and wondering where his life had gone — is going — he went into the old fencing gym to clean. Notre Dame now has a beautiful, new fencing facility, but this was the old one, hidden from the rest of the complex up a back flight of stairs and down a corridor with pipes sticking out of the wall, then through the mechanical room.

“Then you get to a dank, dark little place,” Welsh said. “It’s like a dungeon in there, with no windows.”

That’s when Welsh saw all these awards on the wall with Mariel Zagunis’ name, from matches that he thought no one probably saw, remembered, or ever heard of... more>

Tag(s): News  Mariel Zagunis