I am a sucker for the Olympics. How could you not want to watch athletes who trained their entire lives for this one moment? Who dedicated every waking hour to achieve the perfect triple axle, or for Shaun White to go for his third Olympic medal? Their dedication, the struggles and sacrifices of their families, and their striving for perfection to their craft is mindboggling.
At NYRR, we are fortunate to have Derrick Adkins, 1996 Olympic Gold medalist in the 400M hurdles, on our staff. I have gotten to know Derrick and he is a gentleman and a scholar, shy and unassuming. But when he stands in front of a classroom of kids in our running programs who live in underserved communities and have little or no access to physical fitness, he becomes their hero. He lets them wear his gold medal; he speaks to their level; he tells them what it takes to be an Olympian and how they can take those lessons and apply them every day to succeed in school, sports, or life. These are his Olympic Mentality talking points:
Apply athletic focus to the classroom
Surround yourself with positive influences
Use failure as a motivational tool
Recognize opportunities and embrace new experiences
As you prepare for your big moment on March 16, think of Derrick and his Olympic moment. Think of the kids in our programs who have so little in life yet deserve so much. Think of all the training and dedication and hard work you have put into this one day. And rejoice. Rejoice because you are helping these kids have a better life and rejoice because you are running 13.1 miles to your own Olympic victory.