She was 9 years old when her coach identified talent in her. She was so athletic and fast that she was defeating boys 5-6 years older to her in sprints (running race). The coaches made her aware of the talents she had and she soon had a dream, her dream was to win a gold at the Olympics.
Every day, every moment for the next 14 years was spent on practice, she spent hours on improving her abilities and reducing the time she needed to complete her sprints. She was selects for the Olympic Trials (for the US team) fir the 1996 Olympics. She gave her best shot for 1996 Olympic trails but lost the place in the final team by a whisker. She was the 11th where the top 10 made it to the Olympics at Atlanta.
She did not give up, she doubled her efforts and gave a shot at the 2000 Olympics, things were more complicated this time as
(I) the age was not on her side
(ii) she had her 5th surgery in 8 years.
In spite of all this, she decided to give it a shot. However, fate had other plans, she lost it again in the qualifying rounds and this time, she lost it by a fraction of a second.
18 years of effort was melting before her eyes and it probably was one of the most disheartening moments of her life. She would be on the other side of 30 for the next Olympics and she would not be able to compete with people who are 10 years younger to her. It was a devastating time and her husband, a distinguished athlete himself was trying to cajole her. Barely two days after those disappointing Olympic trial, her husband saw an advertisement that was urging track and field athletes to check out for the US Bobsled team at the Winter Olympics.
He came back and discussed this opportunity with his wife, the lady had already had enough. She had spent 18 years of her life training for the summer Olympics, had 5 surgeries and finally thinking of starting a family. She did not know anything about winter Olympics and Bobsled. Now, competing at Winter Olympics meant 2 more years of hard work and learning a game that you barely knew before. However, she still had the urge to compete and wanted to win an Olympic gold Medal. She decided to postpone her plans of starting a family and give the Winter Olympics a shot.
On the 19th February 2002, the world witnessed another historic moment. For the first time an African-American woman won the gold medal at the winter Olympics. Yes, Vonetta Flowers holds the record of being the first person from African Descent (male or Female) to win a gold at the Winter Olympics. Her perseverance, her commitment and hard work indeed paid off and her dream of winning an Olympic gold became reality.
What does Vonetta’s story tell us? To me it is perseverance, when you remain unfazed by defeat, when you keep giving your best irrespective of all the hurdles that come up, when you are patient enough and you keep trying, when you do not remove your eyes away from the goal irrespective of what the life throws at you, you will end up succeeding. Life and circumstances can only delay success, they cannot defeat the urge of being successful the burns deep in a person.
Do you have a dream? Are you having a tough time in achieving it? Keep trying, for
(i) you are definitely much better than all those who did not even try in the first place
(ii) Success is on its way and remember thec are the sweetest ones.
Never giving up, you never know how close you are to that victory that matters the most.
Have a great day.