Citius, Altius, Fortius ... Faster, Higher, Stronger...
I am sure everyone is watching the Olympics now, even the non sports fans find themselves glued to the TV cheering for USA!! Not only do we watch we also dream. Come on admit it you dream about what it would be like to win a gold medal or any medal ... what would it feel like to stand on that podium after years of training and sacrificing?
Well if you train for a triathlon, a marathon or even a 5K you may understand a little bit. You understand how someone could dream about accomplishing a goal. You can understand the feeling of doing your best. You also understand the word sacrifice! Ok so maybe we aren't on the world stage but we are all athletes in our own way winning our own Gold Medals!!
Since I was a kid I have always dreamed about being a part of the Olympics. I remember (and I am going to date myself right now) Dorothy Hammil in 1976, The US Hockey Team winning the Gold in 1980, Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and one of my favorites, Joan Benoit winning the first Olympic Gold Medal for the woman's Marathon! As a kid I wanted to be a member of the US Ski Team. I wanted to be the fastest down hill skier! As much as I love to ski, I just didn't have the talent. So I had to change my dream a bit. Since I knew I wasn't fast enough to be on the team I thought why not work for an Olympic Team.
In 1996 I became a full time grad student studying Sports Management at Springfield College. One requirement of my Masters program was I had to complete a full time internship. I figured that this was my chance to become involved with the Olympics. So in 1998 I applied to the internship program in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I ended up interviewing with two NGBs (National Governing Bodies), Archery and USA Triathlon and was offered a position with USA Triathlon! It was a great experience. I worked with the membership director, the events coordinator and had an opportunity to get to know members of the National Team. In fact I had the opportunity to work with a girl by the name of Laura Reebok, you may know her today as Laura Bennett, a member of Team USA who will compete in London within the next two weeks. This is Laura's second Olympic Games, finishing fourth in 2008. I am so excited to be rooting for Laura once again at the Olympics!!
What was ironic about working at USA Triathlon was I had never even completed a triathlon event. In fact my first triathlon would not happen until 2001. Looking back I never even dreamed that I would be where I am today. I may never make the Olympic Team as a triathlete but I wouldn't trade the experience I had with USA Tri for the world! I will continue to dream, I will continue to push myself to be a better athlete and do a bit better at every race. I may even hum the National Anthem every time I cross a finish line because to me every completed event is worth an Olympic Gold. GO Team USA!! GO Laura Bennett!! And Good Luck to all you athletes out there competing in the Iron Girl this weekend!!