JUNE 16, 2011

So, lately I’ve been focusing this blog more on my opinions on various subjects based around my transition into the “real world” and less on my travels and activities…this will not be what I’ve been writing about lately!  Every now and then I have weeks where I shake my head in disbelief that my life is where it is.  Sometimes I look at the opportunities Olympic sport has given me and just grin at where I was x amount of years before.  This past week was one of those times…

Early June usually brought on the paramount amount of pain and suffering that my coach Stu McMillan had to offer in training.  Two-a-days were common where we would rip and tear our musculature and frames to the max in order to increase strength, stamina, and at times, sheer willpower.  I loved that time of the year; I waited for it every spring; I reveled in it when it came- because with pain came improvement.  I would come home, barely able to make it to my couch, collapse down and just smile knowing that I had gotten better that day; knowing that there was no way my competition worked as hard as I did that day so I had certainly gained a leg up.  And at the end of my career it was all worth it, every last bit.

Now my early June’s are filled with flights to my hometown of Buffalo, NY for a charity golf tournament with someone I spent my childhood in the stands cheering for- Jim Kelly.  Jim’s golf tournament is an amazing coming together of the NFL’s elite to fundraise for a great cause.  That was last Sunday and Monday.

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Monday night it was off to New York City for a Tuesday afternoon meeting with the USOC’s amazing Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa Baird, to gain her insight on how to best improve Classroom Champions.  The aliens drumming pic came from the platform of the subway stop closest to their offices!  That same evening I found myself at Samsung’s amazing “Hope for Children” Gala down on Wall Street.  The event opened with Demi Moore and was followed by Jennifer Lopez introducing President Bill Clinton!  Later in the evening none other than Harry Conick Jr. capped off the evening with a 45 minute concert and a parade through the crowd!

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The next day was followed by a trip to Team Night Train’s good friend Stephen Colbert’s “Colbert Report.”  It was a blast to be able to bring some good friends from USA Track and Field and an old adversary from the Swiss bobsled team- Ivo Ruegg.  Here’s a few shots from backstage at the Colbert Report along with Ivo and I at Stephen’s desk!

The next day found me taking a nice stroll to the US Olympic Committee offices once again, passing through (and of course taking a picture of) Times Square!

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Once at the offices, the excitement of the our Facebook page crossing the millionth fan mark was in full swing.  We decided it would be fun to have some athletes thanking our fans and this video was taken.

Next on the agenda - Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, which was awesome as usual. Then it was over to Brooklyn with my sister and her husband for dinner.  The next morning found my sister and I adjacent to Times Square in a four hour consulting session with one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met.  Malva Rabinowitz is a principal at Deloitte and works with some of the top non-profit organizations in the world.  She took out half of her day to help us better understand how to grow Classroom Champions and how to better service both the students we’re trying to help and the athletes that are trying to help them.

The next day it was back to Calgary and straight out to Banff where my friends and I had reservations for white water rafting!  The rivers of the Canadian Rockies were a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the streets of New York but at the end of the day I found myself looking back at the week I just described, surrounded by friends, realizing that for ten years, a week like that wouldn’t have been possible and I would have ended my week smiling just as much at the pain and suffereing I had just endured.  When all is said and done, which one would I prefer?  It’s a question that I don’t really know the answer to- and very luckily don’t have to respond to because life isn’t about which one you prefer, it’s preferring whatever you find yourself doing.

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