By Somali K Chakrabarti
Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.
– Bern William
The life of Louis Zamperini, is a tale of unbroken human spirit.
Louis Zamperini, a US Olympic runner, who became a fighter in the World War II, was marooned in the Pacific ocean for 46 days, survived the ordeal of a Prisoner Of War (POW) in Japanese camps, and later turned into an inspirational speaker, exemplifies resilience.
A wayward child, Louis had taken to smoking and drinking, early on in life, and was often picked up by the local police for getting into brawls. His parents were first generation Italian immigrants who had moved to Torrance, California, in 1919. Their repeated efforts to discipline Louis were discounted by the defiant kid; but the constant encouragement of his brother Pete, influenced Louis and he started taking an interest in sports.
His racing abilities soon came to be noticed, as he started improving and winning races, including the national high school race, in which he broke the record set during World War I.
Louis went on to participate in the 5000 metres race in 1936 Olympics, where he finished the final lap so fast (in 56 seconds beating the previous Olympic record of 69.2 seconds) that it caught the eye of Adolf Hitler, who personally came up to Zamperini and shook his hand.