Letter from the Editor: The Great Race

Determination that jumps from the pages.


“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” That bit of advice is from Michael Phelps and he should know something about dreams realized. The USA swimmer holds the record for Olympic medals—28. And 23 of those were gold.

Dozens of athletes with Central Florida connections—they’re either from the area or train here—are competing for the chance to be in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In this issue you’ll read about 10 of them, and the talent, dedication and determination that has brought them this far. Photo editor Roberto Gonzalez captures the resolve in their faces (check out the cover photo of wrestler Abnelis Yambo) and the beauty in their movements, in sports ranging from soccer to Taekwondo. Writer Todd Grasley tells the stories of each athlete, including what drives him or her. That last part can perhaps be illustrated best with this quote from runner Andres Arroyo:

“I keep it imprinted in my mind that I will perform with every drop of energy I have and will win.”

This issue is packed with something for everyone. There’s the fascinating story of a Wild West opera, little known to most, that was written by none other than one of the most famous composers in history, Giacomo Puccini. In a brilliant choice of venue, Opera Orlando is presenting The Girl of the Golden West at the Cheyenne Saloon and Opera House, which, if you’ve lived in Orlando for a few decades, you’ll recognize from the heyday of Church Street Station. We also catch up with stage star and singer Denée Benton, a Trinity Prep alum who will return home to sing on the very stage that launched her to stardom a decade ago.

Elsewhere, on our Nightlife page we make our way to the Bösendorfer Lounge at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando to have drinks in a classy atmosphere (to be honest, it was a short trip—the nightspot is just steps from our office). The journey to our Travel destination, Henderson County, North Carolina, is much farther but well worth the drive or flight for its trails, waterfalls, apples and more. In Dine, critic Joseph Hayes sings the praises of Reyes Mezcaleria and chef extraordinaire Wendy Lopez. And he gives high marks to Great Harvest Bread Co. and four other places to scoop up fresh-baked goods.

Finally, in Extra Pulp, Laura Anders Lee writes about the trauma—or lack of—over turning 40. Over the hill? Hardly. Lest we forget, swimmer Dara Torres made the USA Olympic team in 2008—at 41 years young.


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