A story about a man named Yuri
There once was a man named Yuri.
Yuri had lived in Russia all of his life, in a small town near Moscow. The town had horrible weather conditions almost all of the time and very few people lived there. Everyone living in the town was struggling to survive in such poor conditions. Yuri had lived alone in a small house in this town. He worked every day at a factory that was close to this town. It was hard work, and Yuri was never very happy with his work, but he kept enduring the rough conditions to be able to have an income. Yuri’s life had been like this for several years, and he had endured many hardships during these times.
Every day, while Yuri was taking his walk to the factory before work began, he always passed by a large billboard on the side of the road. The billboard changed every month or so, usually showing an irrelevant advertisement for something that Yuri had little interest in. Today, however, Yuri noticed a new advertisement on the billboard. It read, “SWIMMING LESSONS” in large letters, accompanied by a picture of a large man swimming through the water. This ad had given Yuri something to be interested in. He had always had an intense passion for swimming, but it was always too difficult to practice in the frigid waters of the lake near his home. Yuri continued to read the ad before he finally came to the price: 5000 Rubles base fee.
Yuri was sad, because this was much more than Yuri could afford to spend. However, he thought to himself, “If I could save up enough money from the factory work, then by the end of the month, I should have enough…” After this, he decided that day that he would work as hard as he could to make sure he had enough money by the end of the month. He even had to cut back his food supply by just a small amount to still have enough money. Finally, at the end of the month, Yuri finally had enough money to be able to go to the swimming pool not far from his home where the practices were being held.
Every day after his hard work at the factory, he greatly enjoyed going back to the pool and practicing his swimming. He had started quickly and advanced rapidly. Everyone who frequented the pool to practice their swimming was impressed by Yuri’s natural ability to be able to learn and adapt so quickly, becoming very popular with the people at the pool, his hometown, and even in Moscow. It was truly a passion of Yuri’s.
A few months had passed, and Yuri’s amazing swimming abilities had been noticed by people in places all across Russia, considering a swimming prodigy. Yuri was always modest about his skills, but was humble nonetheless. However, he still had to continue his work at the factory, and live in the same small house he had lived in since he was born. For him, swimming was the one thing that saved him from the cruel and harsh life he lived.
Later that month, on his way to the factory once again, he had noticed that the billboard he so often passed had changed once again. While it was difficult to read in the unrelenting snowstorm, he managed to make out the words “DIVING PRACTICES” in big letters. Diving was something that Yuri had also found to be interesting, but could never find the time nor place to practice properly. The pool he went to had no diving boards or excessively deep sections of the pool, so it was hard for Yuri to practice diving. However, this would give him another opportunity to pursue what he wanted to do. He looked down at the bottom of the billboard and saw something that, like the other ad, made his heart drop. The base fee was 7500 Rubles.
Yuri knew that it would take another month or two of hard work at the factory to be able to achieve such a high sum of money. The factory was beginning to offer less and less money to Yuri, making life harder on him than it was before. He had to cut back his food money as well to accommodate for this. However, Yuri overcame the hardships in his life and save up just enough money by the end of two months.
The practices were held at another pool not far from the one he already went to, so it was easy for him to practice both swimming and diving at once. He continued to master his swimming skills while also learning how to practice diving. Much like with swimming, however, he had picked up skills quickly, and it only took him another few months before he had mastered diving.
Many people had heard of Yuri at this point. Several news stories across Russia were focused around Yuri, who was considered to be the best swimmer and diver in the whole country. He continued to remain incredibly modest through all of his interviews. “It is only something I am fond of, a hobby” Yuri would say. “I still have a life in the factory that I must attend to every day. It is a hard life, so swimming and diving are what I use to keep myself healthy.” Despite his fame and popularity, Yuri did continue to work at the factory day in and day out, receiving little pay and little food for all of his hard work. Despite all of Yuri’s hardships, he continued his daily routine of working, swimming, and diving.
For yet another time, Yuri was on his way to the factory. The billboard had changed once again. Yuri anticipated something exciting on the billboard, and he was not disappointed at what he saw. “TRAVEL TO AMERICA TODAY!” read the ad. Yuri was very interested. He had always heard of America, and had heard nothing but positive things about it. The land of the free! It was a very exciting idea to Yuri. However, he knew that with ads like these, he knew they would come at a steep price. Unfortunately, he thought correctly. The boats that traveled to America were advertised as costing 60,000 Rubles.
Yuri knew that that kind of sum would come from only another year or so of hard work at the factory. The factory work had become increasingly more difficult every single day, with little pay, food, and free time. However, he endured the next year the same way he endured the previous years: with swimming and diving. It truly was his passion, and Yuri was not sure on how he would have survived without them.
Finally, the year had passed, and Yuri had finally saved up enough Rubles to be able to ride the boat to America. He climbed aboard the boat with all of his possessions with him, all managing to fit in one small suitcase. The boat was somewhat small in size, being able to house only around 20 or so people. The boat set sail across the cold waters of the ocean. About a day had passed when people had finally recognized Yuri, the famed Russian swimmer and diver. They were all very excited to meet Yuri, and had several questions to ask him about his swimming skills. “It is nothing much, just a passion of mine, that is all. It is something I use to endure the hardships and trials of my life…” Yuri would always respond to his fans.
One day the boat had to make a stop at a small island to fill up the boat’s gas supply, for they had much less than they had expected to have. It was a nice, sunny day outside, and the water was said to be very warm. One of the passengers asked Yuri to show off some of his diving techniques to his fans, since they had time to kill before the boat would depart again. “Hey, Yuri! While we wait, could you show us some of your diving skills? I would LOVE to see them!” Yuri was hesitant at first. Another passenger asked, “And maybe once you have done that, could you show us your swimming techniques? The water is warm, and it would make my day to see them!” Yuri replied, “Well… ok, if you all insist I do it.”
Yuri looked off the side of the boat. On the bottom of the boat, a balcony extended from the bottom. Yuri feared he might hit the balcony on his dive down, but everyone else assured Yuri that he wouldn’t hit it in a million years. Yuri stepped up over the railing, onto the side of the boat. With the same skill that he had used so many times before, he demonstrated his graceful diving skills by performing his favorite dive he knew. His fans watched in amazement as his body twirled through the air beautifully, showing the same amount of skill he put into each of his other dives. As he dove down towards the war waters below, people watched and expected for Yuri to land smoothly in the water.
Unfortunately, Yuri never landed in the water. He landed instead on the solid, hard deck of the boat’s balcony below. The impact sounded painful, and all of the spectators winced on pain over his fall. Yuri remained motionless for several seconds, and his fans began to worry. Many people were about to call for medics when Yuri managed to get up slowly. “Are you alright Yuri? That fall looked hard! That must have broken some bones!” Yuri, however, had barely an injury. As he had gotten up, he simply regained his sense of direction. This had amazed several people, as that kind of a fall would have surely broken any other person’s bones, if not killed them. Instead, Yuri simply stood up with barely a scratch, and waved back at the row of spectators.
“It is OK, everybody” Yuri yelled back. “I have endured many hardships in my life.”