I spent a considerable amount of time in front of my television over the past couple weeks watching the Olympic Athletes competing, winning and losing in Sochi and am taking several important lessons with me as I train for Rio 2016!
Each of the athletes that have been competing in the Sochi Games are the best in their discipline. They have spent countless hours training as Olympic Athletes since they had won that right in their Nation, and have all gotten on the starting line with the mindset that they are there to win Gold! Each athlete is a hero in their own right, they deserve to be honored and serve as an inspiration to every young athlete with Olympic aspirations for their future. Regardless of their results at the Sochi Games, they inspire millions of young athletes to push further, work harder, dream bigger and continually push to make their dreams come true!
I know for me personally, I started dreaming about the Olympics the first time I sailed in an Optimist Dinghy at the Cleveland Yachting Club in Rocky River, Ohio at the age of 8. I climbed into that boat at the bottom of the launch ramp and I saw the potential of winning Olympic Gold and the thrill of victory and the joy that I see on every champions face! I saw me on that podium and I knew that one day I would be there!
What I know today is that this early dream is critical to the success of sport and it is vital to spark the love so your sport and of competition in every young athlete today. But I have also learned countless lessons along my path towards Rio 2016.
I have learned that along everyones path to Olympic glory there are countless moments of disappointment, numerous losses and that the thrill of victory is paved with so much agony of defeat. Not that losing, disappointment and defeat are negative things (they hurt when they happen), because in each loss is a lesson of how to train, to focus and to work towards victory. In each disappointing moment is the glimmer of hope when you you push harder, learn more and you can see victory just beyond the horizon! The agony of defeat serves as motivation to do it again, and again, and again until victory is yours. These each teach us that there is never failure in life as long as you are willing to pick yourself up, brush off the snow (in my case, wipe the saltwater out of my eyes) and climb back onto your horse to do it again! Failure is only when you admit that you can never do it, and that isn’t the case for me, for you or for anyone in life. When we lose, we are simply still along our path towards victory in our future. It is an opportunity to get up and practice more, work harder and focus more than the competition until we are better, stronger, more motivated and determined than the competition to make it happen! Victory is only a moment in our life, and is only proof that all the hard work dedication and belief in yourself is worth it because it always perseveres and will always result in victory eventually!
Since I was 8 years old I have been chasing my dream of winning Olympic Gold. Today I can see the light on my horizon as the Gold Medals of Rio 2016 are about to rise and the competition towards the Games becomes more real every day!
Today I realize that a dream is just the beginning. Becoming an Olympic Champion requires dedication, determination, focus, drive and so much hard work that most people decide that they do not have it in them before they ever get to the Olympic Trials. Most athletes let time, pressure of family, or work, or friends, or school or life in general get in the way of their own success. They let past losses become the excuse for their failure, they let the difficulty of fundraising for their training, coaching, travel and competitions become the excuses why they can not push on. They allow themselves to give up. That is not me!
I am 17 years old.
I am from Cleveland, Ohio.
I know how to lose. I know that losing is not failure…it is not the end. I know that there is always “next year”, that there is always another chance to become a champion! I know that if I work harder, that if I go to the gym longer and train more and learn from my past and sail more than the competition that I will come out victorious. That I will be next Olympic Champion!
At 17 years old, I wake up every morning at 5 am to go to the gym to workout with my trainers. I focus on building my strength, on increasing my flexibility and on preventing injuries through a complete focus on strength, flexibility and continual attention to detail in my workouts, my training and my lifestyle in general. I go to school and focus on educating myself so that I can achieve academically and make myself appealing to the top universities in the country and around the globe so that I can continue to improve my mind for my future career!
I get on a boat each and every day I can. I sail with my partners on my Olympic Class NACRA 17 to train for Rio 2016, but I also seize every opportunity to sail with top athletes in our sport to learn from their experience, from their dedication and from their instruction aboard. It can be Melges 20’s , J70’s, Star, Etchels, Marstron 34’s or any boat where people are focused on the components of a race and how they can squeeze a little more speed out of their trim, or to tweak their rig tuning just a little for a pit more power, or simply positioning on the boat to point a little higher or to get a little more power out of the mainsail…each experience on a boat makes me stronger, smarter and more equipped to win the next time I am aboard my NACRA17 and sailing against the worlds top athletes who are working towards the same goal of Olympic Gold from Rio 2016!
I watch videos of my performance…and of yours! I am always trying to learn how I can get better on the boat. I am looking for ways to be a little faster off the start. Talking to pros on how to find the shifts a little quicker and how to see a puff before it hits the water so that I can get up the racecourse a little faster today than I did yesterday!
I work with the top trainers in the gym.
I sail with the top coaches in the world.
I seek advice from the top professionals.
I have the best advisors.
I train hard.
I am dedicated, driven, determined and I am confident that if I give it my all and never give up that I will being Olympic Gold home to Lake Erie and that will serve to motivate 8 year olds on the lake who are learning to sail this summer to dream big and to believe that they can give it their all and one day bring another Gold Medal home from the Games and start the process all over again!
I take my success personally. I know that having the top athletes, trainers, advisers and professionals at my side that I will have the best chance of winning the US Olympic Trials and then bringing Gold home from Rio 2016. In order to do this, I have to have the money to pay these people who are helping me to become the next Olympic Champion. at 17 years old, I am not the best fundraiser in the world. I am not a great salesman, and I do not have thousands of contacts into large corporations who can sponsor my efforts to become the top athlete from the Rio Games. While these are all obstacles that make fundraising more difficult for me, it only motivates me to make more phone calls, to make more presentations and to talk to more people who might know someone at some company that would be wiling to support my efforts to climb up the podium in Rio 2016 and to come home with Gold!
If you work for a company that is open to supporting a young and determined athlete on his way to the top, or if they are looking for someone to put in their advertising, or need a spokesperson, or someone to sweep the floors or clean the toilets when I am not training…PLEASE call me and discuss the opportunity! My phone number is 216-210-3598. I am dedicated to winning in Rio 2016 and I am not going to let anything get in the way of my success! I am driven, hard working and focused on making it happen! If you are not connected to a company that can help (or even if you are), please consider donating money to my campaign. Individual contributors make up the majority of my campaign funding and each donation, even $50 helps me to train and will make the difference in my success today! Please help if you can.
With your help I can make it to Rio 2016 and will bring home Gold for every dedicated and focused youth who has a dream! Thank you for your support.