At the age of six I watched the 1968 Olympics and it was then that I decided that I was going to the Olympics one day. Since I was born with spina bifida, the doctors told my parents that I shouldn’t engage in sports, but they still allowed me to pursue my dream. Being of Scandinavian descent, I guess it was a natural fit for me to take up the javelin. We still laugh about the day that I was throwing apples from my mother’s garden over the house without thinking that there might be people or cars on the other side of the house. After a good tongue lashing, I decided to channel all of my throwing energy into the javelin. I started serious training at the age of 14 and there were days in which I’d have to ride my bike for forty miles just for a two hour coaching session.
Now over forty years after my resolution to go to the Olympics, I can proudly say that I’m a two time Olympian and I’ve participated in eight Olympic Trials, recently winning a silver medal at the UK Olympic trials held in Birmingham, England at the age of 50. The next “oldest” person at the trials wasn’t even born when I competed in 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. There were days in which my body ached to such an extreme due to the 5+ hours a day of training, as well as the mental stamina, that I contemplated the wisdom of my choice to set such a lofty goal at such an “old” age. But just as I made my goal to go to the Olympics 44 years ago, I was determined to give it my all, which included not only long workouts but also restricting my diet and not partaking of my beloved beer.
With this experience, I tell my children that it’s important not to give up on your dreams and to be willing to fail. Only through failure do you learn how to improve and to overcome the biggest obstacle of all, which is the little voice in our heads that tells us if we fail, we have lost. It’s also important to love what you do, which makes it’s easier to push yourself on the days in which you’d rather just take it easy, and finally, it’s that simple statement about the journey and the destination. If you enjoy the journey, you’re more likely to enjoy the destination no matter the outcome.
So if you are passionate about something, whether it is a sport, a hobby or work, be sure to experience it to the fullest and take each day as a way to fulfill your dream of being “your” best and your life will be fulfilling. I’d like to write more, but I need to go workout now. The 2016 Olympic trials are just around the corner and who knows ?????