Aug. 25, 2014

A unique part of the Youth Olympic Games is that our athletes have access to Athlete Role Models — retired or currently competing Olympians who participate in CEP activities, host question and answer sessions, are around the dining hall, and are available to meet one-on-one with delegations. Yesterday, Team USA had the opportunity to meet with Dwight Phillips, Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion long jumper.

Dwight spoke to our whole track and field team. He told the team about his road to the Olympic Games — how he was determined to be a 400-meter runner, refusing to listen to his coaches when they told him to focus solely on long jump, transferred colleges, and finally realized and accepted his potential as a world-class long jumper.

Dwight spoke about both the peaks and valleys that he has gone through during his career, insight that’s invaluable to our young athletes. After sharing his inspirational story, the floor was opened up to our athletes to ask questions. When asked about his training routine, Dwight told the group “Practice makes permanent.”  He continued on to explain that he left everything on the track every day, and that he was there to make his teammates better and push them to reach heights they didn’t believe possible. 

Having the opportunity to hear from role models who have achieved the level of success our athletes are currently dreaming of is important to reenergize the athletes when they’re beginning to feel the wear and tear of the Games. Dwight was personable, sociable and relatable for our athletes. He was engaging, encouraging and motivating, and was able to provide yet another unique, once in a lifetime moment here at the Youth Olympic Games.