Inspirations From Olympians


Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Willie Davenport Olympic Clinic in Northern California. It was a day-long event providing young athletes with advice, inspiration and hands-on training from some of the world’s best Olympic Track and Field athletes. Over 30 renowned past and present world-record holders were in attendance from various events and shared their Olympic experiences. The clinic was organized by Lee Webb who was formerly the coach at James Logan High School in Union City, CA. Lee competed in the Olympic Trials in the decathlon and the javelin. He coached 5 national championship team and 2 state championship teams. It was an incredible event.



One of the questions that I asked each of the Olympians was:


“What advice would you give to a young athlete who wants to excel in their main event?”


Heather Hanchak Moss, Sprinter

“Don’t give up. Follow what the trainers say. You are gonna have to put in extra time. You are gonna have to work at it, but be patient...and you can be even more successful than you already are.”



Norman Tate, Triple Jumper

“You have to work. There is no easy way to success. You are gonna face obstacles, and if you get in the habit of giving up, you won’t reach the finish line...You have got to always finish.”




Dawn Ellerbe, Hammer

“Have fun and work hard. The hammer isn’t a natural event. It is really technical. The first time I tried it, I fell down. So, don’t get discouraged.”



Fred Newhouse, 400m dash; 4x100m


“The race doesn’t always go to the swiftest, but to the he who endure to the end. Just keep trying. Never give up. Keep trying. Keep dreaming.”



Gerry Lindgren, 5000m and 10000m

“First you have to get in shape because you have to run a lot of distance. When you get in shape, that is the beginning, not the end. Develop a style that keeps you from being defeated.”



Mike Powell, Long Jump

“Believe in yourself because people are always going to tell you that you can’t do something and you have to figure out a way to believe in yourself. If you can see it, you can do it. But you have to believe.”



Reynaldo Brown, High Jump

“Find out exactly what it is that you want to do and get with the right people that can get you where you want to get to. Then work hard and never say anything is too hard to do. Just do it.”



Obea Moore, 400m

“Stay away from weight. Do push-ups and sit-ups. Have an imagination. Step outside of the box. Never play the game unless you know all the rules.”




Dwight Phillips, Long Jumper



Mike Powell, Long Jumper





Kevin Young, 400m Hurdles




Every of one these athletes worked hard to pursue a career in their event. As you know, being an athlete takes a lot of commitment, time and effort. You must work hard in order to achieve success. Every athlete at some point in their training will experience challenges and must learn to overcome them. During the event, these Olympians shared stories of how hard work can pay off. From the advice above, Youth Runner Magazine hopes that you are inspired and can learn from them. Always keep striving for what you want to accomplish.