Editorial | Big winners in sporting world

Editorial | Big winners in sporting world

The Masters Tournament and Boston Marathon produced some great stories.

People love comeback stories, and there are few better than the stunning triumph of pro golfer Tiger Woods on Sunday at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga.

Woods nosed out a trio of competitors who finished 1 stroke behind him to cap a yearslong comeback from a string of physical and personal problems that turned him into just another pro on the tournament tour.

The victory marks Woods' fifth Masters title and his 15th major tournament victory. But it was his first such win since the 2008 U.S. Open.

One of the most popular golfers — indeed, one of the most popular athletes — in the U.S., Woods reacted to the win with a euphoric fist pump that was enthusiastically applauded by those present as well as a national television audience.

His troubles — both physical and marital — have been well documented over the years. He underwent multiple surgeries on his back and succumbed to opioid addiction that led to a driving-while-intoxicated arrest. But he demonstrated the wisdom of the old aphorism that it's not what happens to you in life that matters, but what you do about it.

Woods returned to the tour and shot for a level of excellence that he once took for granted. On Sunday, he completed that journey, winning a nail-biter that had golf fans transfixed.

Good for him and good for those people who were pulling for him.

On the local scene ...

It's not just Tiger Woods providing an inspiring example of grit and determination in the world of sports.

Let's give a tip of the hat to two local wheelchair athletes who delivered stunning performances in Monday's Boston Marathon.

Urbana's Daniel Romanchuk blew away the competition to win the Boston event. He had a record time for an American — 1 hour, 21 minutes and 36 seconds — to become, at age 20, the youngest winner ever.

A student at Parkland College who's transferring in the fall to the University of Illinois, Romanchuk already had won the Chicago and New York City marathons. His next stop will be in London later this month.

Romanchuk came to Champaign-Urbana to work and train with wheelchair track coach Adam Bleakney.

The other local wheelchair racer to make a big splash was Tatyana McFadden. Having won championships all over the world, including Boston, McFadden finished second in the women's competition.

Few people have any real idea of the ability and sacrifice required to compete at the level of a marathon, let alone one of the world's most prominent events. Suffice it to say, it ain't easy.

But where there's a will, there's a way. So all that's left to say to our local winners is, great job.

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