The Rio Olympics are in full swing!
And while the summer Olympics are known for their drama and inspiring tales throughout the competition, one more unique story has already risen out of the games focuses on an earring, a scuba diver, and an Olympic medal.
As the story goes, during the initial preliminaries for the 100-meter women’s backstroke on Sunday, August 7, American swimmer and Olympic athlete Kathleen Baker lost one of her earrings in the vast swimming pool while competing.
While on the surface this doesn’t seem like a big to-do, the athlete always wears the pearl earrings during every one of her races as a sort of good luck charm.
Like how baseball players grow out their beards during a winning streak, or how certain football players wear the same unwashed socks for every game, but not nearly as gross.
As a result of the earrings’ significance to Baker, she put out a call to action on social media for her fellow swimmers to please keep an eye out for the missing piece of jewelry while in the depths of the Olympic pool.
This call to arms was effectively shared among other competitors and friends, with posts like one from David Marsh that simply pleaded “If anyone sees @KathleenBaker2 ‘s other earring on the bottom of the Olympic pool – pls grab it.”
A new trending hashtag emerging called “#EarringSearchParty” which was even tweeted on the NBC Olympics’ official Twitter account.
A scuba diver who was outfitted in full gear including a wetsuit, fins and a mask submerged to the waters of the Olympic pool to recover the lost earring.
The diver was successful, spotting the tiny pearl accessory at the bottom of lane three where Baker was swimming, and the earring was retrieved with ease.
Apparently, the earring ended up being returned to Baker the day before the medal race. With her earring intact, and present for the ensuing race, Baker ultimately took the silver medal during the official 100m women’s backstroke competition.
The story surpassed headlines of other medal winners for a couple of days, spurring comical articles and social media posts all around the globe.
American online magazine “Slate” published a story called “Best Jobs at the Olympics: Earring-Retrieving Scuba Diver” which outlined all the pros and cons of being the lucky diver who eventually found the earring.
Among the pros, the article noted that “You bring hope and good luck to swimmers who may or may not be distraught over losing a pearl earring in the pool.”
Also, an NBC reporter garnered a lot of laughs and a bit of a social media following when remarking that the silver medal winner Kathleen Barker “remains the girl with two pearl earrings.”
So while the affair ended up being a bit of a comical addition to the flow of news stories that stem from the Olympics, it’s still cool that scuba diving a sport that millions of people love took center stage, for a brief moment, at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
And while there’s no proof that the retrieval of the earring directly led to a silver medal, there’s a solid chance that without a scuba diver’s assistance, the Olympic winner and her pearl earring would never have been reunited.