Matt Biondi - Out Of The Pool
Out of the Pool
Biondi had lost his trademark competitive zeal even before the Barcelona Olympics. "I can't tell you how many mornings I got to the pool and stood over the cold water and just had to force myself to drop in," he told Sports Illustrated. Biondi "was thrilled with his achievements, but the intense push toward medals and records had worn on him," Portland Oregonian reporter Katy Muldoon wrote in a feature story in 2000. "And even though he sometimes sought it out, he says, the spotlight traumatized him. Shy by nature, Biondi found the near-constant attention from the news media and the public emotionally difficult."
Biondi met Kirsten Metzger after the '92 Games at a University of California football game where he and other Cal Olympians were honored during a halftime ceremony. A few months later, they bumped into each other on the street in Berkeley. Two years later, they married in Hawaii, Kirsten's home state. The couple lived in northern California and Biondi, who had returned to the motivational speaking circuit, was drifting and directionless. "He would cross-country ski in winter and spend long summer afternoons sailing on San Francisco Bay with his father," Muldoon wrote. Biondi told her that he "felt like life was getting too easy, too soft. I had my speech down. I could make ends meet by working once a month."
Biondi's wife convinced him to return to college. He enrolled at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, where Kirsten had earned a graduate degree in public administration, and graduated with a master's degree in teaching in 2000. "I want to make a difference by being in a profession where I can spend a lot of time with kids," Biondi said. "And I would like to work with one group all yearnot just come in … traveling around with my gold medals, all sensational."