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Olympic swimming champ Anthony Ervin: I can come back to India for tandoori chicken

Anthony Ervin, who is a four-time Olympic medallist, confesses he loves Indian food in US, and can visit India merely to savour the famous chicken speciality.

other sports Updated: Dec 17, 2017 17:36 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Anthony Ervin,Half marathon,Olympics
Olympic medallist swimmer Anthony Ervin was in Delhi, recently.(Raajessh Kashyap/HT Photo)

For a foreigner heading to Delhi, if there’s one piece of advice that an Indian friend abroad will surely pass on, it will be to exercise care both with the toxic Delhi air and the spicy North Indian food. But US swimmer and four-time time Olympic medallist Anthony Ervin, didn’t heed to either on his recent trip to the Capital.

“Every time I hit the biryani, it’s consistently good. As far as spiciness goes, I have liked all the dals (pulses). Naan is quite exquisite. But one thing I will want to come back to India for is tandoori chicken. That’s what I really want,” Ervin gushes. The Olympian adds, “We have Indian food in the US, and we love it. I had my favourites even before I came here. But to come here and have the real thing, like even in a casual way, is better than the best stuff in the US.”

“Clean Earth is beautiful, when you get to see it. And it always isn’t balanced. It’s one of those things that this generation and the generations after us needs to know about. That’s the best way of conservation — cleaning up our mess, just as we create it.” — Anthony Ervin

As talks of food begin to subside, the eyes wander up and the conversation turns to the polluted sky. Was Ervin surprised to see the high pollution level in Delhi? “I have been to a couple of other countries that have really high pollution. It’s a sad thing. Clean Earth is beautiful, when you get to see it. And it always isn’t balanced. It’s one of those things that this generation and the generations after us needs to know about. That’s the best way of conservation — cleaning up our mess, just as we create it,” says Ervin, who was in the city for Delhi Half Marathon. Even though he was concerned about the health of the athletes, he says, “The government agencies said it was safe to come to India, so I abided.”

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Ervin created history by winning an Olympic medal after 16 years of his first Olympic gold in the same category. At 35, he was the oldest individual to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming. His first medal — he auctioned to raise funds for Tsunami survivors. Was it difficult to part with the first medal? “Yes, it was difficult, but no regrets after I did it because I wanted to try and do a good thing. I’m not a saint. I have done way more selfish things in my time… I can’t even count them all. This was one act, I thought maybe I could do some help because I was personally affected by the amount of suffering. It seems easy up to a point to become acclimated to suffering, but there’s always a breaking point. Enough is enough. This is wrong. Wanna do something about it,” he signs off.

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First Published: Dec 17, 2017 17:36 IST