The journey to earn an Olympic gold medal is rarely achieved without challenges. But for some elite athletes, the lessons learned stretch far beyond the podium. Four gold medalists talk about how the Olympics prepared them for life’s hardest fights: washingtonpost.com/sports/20…
Billy Mills says the racism he experienced in college, along with the grief of losing his parents, sent him into a deep depression. Running and the pursuit of his Olympic goals helped to get him through his loneliness. He won gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Growing up with severe asthma and a number of allergies, Amy Van Dyken-Rouen had to shop around to find the sport that was right for her. Swimming did not come easy. Her persistence not only got her across the pool but eventually made her an Olympic champion.
Shannon Miller faced some low moments during chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, but she thought back to her days as part of the “Magnificent Seven” — the first U.S. Olympic gymnastics team to win gold. In 2021, she celebrated being cancer-free for 10 years.
Greg Louganis was petrified when he struck his head on the board and bled into the pool during the 1988 Olympics; not because of his injury, but because he had recently been diagnosed with HIV. Today, he is a motivational speaker and an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate.