The Janet Evan lecture3-19-2016
I listened to the keynote speaker Janet Evan at the international leadership foundation annual banquet . And was very moved by her legacy.
Remembered in 1988, she was the dominant feature in the swimming pool. When I watched her swim so steady ,fast, and after winning, smile with her teeth exposed, a typical neighbor girl , it was really amazing and I thought that she must be a tall girl, actually she is only 5'2"! She describes her mind in 1984, after saw lots Olympic athletes in Los Angeles, she liked to pursue the dream to become one. Her coach told her to be wake up in the 4:15 am, went to practice for 6miles swim,go to school, then at 2:30pm to 6 o'clock in the afternoon, start another 6 miles......if she can do so, then they can talked about this dream.
At the age of 12, she did not hasitate to sacrifice for achievement , hard work and practices, then through a lot of contests, she formally became one of the USA Olympic swimming team. After finish training, at her 17th birthday, they went to Disneyland to relax, what a wonderful coincidence. She thought her goals had been accomplished, then from some previous olympic champions' help, such as the Mark Spitz, she tried best to get medals! Changed one goal of only attending a game to another one. She concentrated, relaxed and faced off with those tall, strong East German athletes. She won three golden medals in 1988.
Again , in the next Olympic, the concept of winning still was in her mind. This time to win is the only goal.she skipped the open ceremony to save her energy for the 2nd day events, although she were still good to go for the finals ,she lost in the 400 meter freestyle in last 1 meter by 0.19 seconds. How can she only got a silver medal? Suddenly she realized life has up and down. Just do your best. Several days later, she won another golden medal in 800 meters freestyle , but when a report ask her...Janet, do you know you were really slow ?..She just relaxed and thought who cares, I have the gold...haha, she was 5 seconds slow than she was in Seoul game!
She really relieved from the competitions, after the game,she tried to be away from the pool and quitting Stanford University.Then her old coach called her to be a real champion not just winner, that is do not listen to others and enjoying the process. She joined USC swimming team and meanwhile practice to attend another Olympic game. The goal how to be a champion made her to do accordingly. Then , in the eve of Atlanta Olympic game, she was selected to be the last 2nd torch runner. She had not attend the passed 2 games at the opening ceremony . That is a advice from the swimming legend Mark Spitz, but this time reluctantly she went, she found and enjoyed the whole process and delivered the torch to another boxing legend Ali, she saw the teammates relaxed and joked about her RUNNING. How wonderful , 10 thousand athletes there and how many would win a medal? A loser or winner is not necessary to be the CHAMPION!eventually she lost in the following competition. She could take whatever happened in her life.
She returned to her normal life, graduated and has a family and kids, suddenly at the age of 40, 11 years after the last game, she just wanted to try compete again. With the supports of her family, she did her best to enroll with all younger athletes, some did not know her bright past and can not believe such an OLD lady can be competitive. She did not make in the team but eventually she accomplished what in her mind, she was 8 seconds slower compared to her record when she was 18 years old.
Now she enjoys a very fulfill life in Southern California and really happy to share her process and thinkings with the younger. Although I am more senior than her in age, I was so moved , and after the speech, I can not help to greet her with my sincere admiring and blessing. Really a very very good and helpful speech.