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Erath County resident writes memoir about her Olympic journey.

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

Kim Rhodenbaugh Lewallen

Erath County resident Kim Rhodenbaugh Lewallen has written a book about her experience as an Olympic swimmer who competed in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the difficulties she encountered in her quest to become one of the best swimmers in the world.

In her memoir, “Master of the Mask: An Olympic Swimmer’s Long Journey to Freedom,” Kim reveals dark secrets she kept hidden from family and friends for 30 years and talks about her journey to healing.

The book is a relatively short and easy read I couldn’t put down. You can get a copy for yourself by clicking here.


Chapter one – The Deadly Secret – begins with the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics and describes the rush of emotions she felt.

“As we entered the tunnel of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, we could hear them chanting, ‘USA, USA.’ As we got closer to the opening, the cheering got louder and louder. When we entered the coliseum, the crowd went wild…”

Sadly, that moment would be her happiest during her Olympic experience.

Kim had been sexually assaulted by other, older elite swimmers, two of which were also competing in the Olympics.

She kept her secrets to herself.

“My mind deceived me into thinking that keeping my secrets protected me when, in reality, not telling anyone kept me in darkness. This unbearable heaviness stayed with me for more than 30 years.”

The book not only outlines her years of sexual abuse, but also includes her struggles with an eating disorder and years of drug and alcohol abuse.

More importantly, it’s a story of hope and inspiration.

“My prayer in writing Master of the Mask was for it to help one person,” Kim told Beneath the Surface News. “Not only has God used my story to bring hope and healing to many people, but He has also used it to continue my own journey to healing and freedom.”


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