USA Special Olympics Team Set Positive Example All Should Follow

On pulling up my Facebook page today, I noticed a post from my friend, two-time Olympic Gold medalist Bart Conner (husband to five-time Olympic Gold medalist Nadia Comaneci), regarding the inspirational story of our USA Special Olympics floor hockey team in their quest to prepare for the Winter Games.

Bart is a big supporter of the Special Olympics as he works tirelessly to raise money and support them in their endeavors. Certainly a man of genuine intent as he uses his platform of success to help others…a “pay it forward” mentality many others could learn from.

Bringing this back to Bart’s post, what I found most interesting was the linked article from CNN he left, Team loses 400 pounds for Winter Games, about how this team took on a special challenge. One that would allow them to compete at a higher level, and one that would require them to lose a good amount of weight. As put in the CNN piece:

“…coach Keith Nelson studied the opposing team, he realized his players were at a big disadvantage. Their future opponents moved quickly around the court, passing the puck with strength and agility.”

With a commitment from Coach Nelson and his oldest son, they embarked on a plan to eat healthier and lose weight. Realizing good success, they then brought their plan to the team in the hopes they would accept the challenge and embark on a path to bettering the team’s chances of competing more successfully. A challenge the team and USA team captain Teddy Leonard accepted, adding a conditioning program they followed “five to six days a week.”

Their goal was to lose a combined 300 lbs. (as a team) before the Winter Games. So how did they do…they shattered that expectation as “fourteen players dropped a total of 400 pounds in preparation for their trip to PyeongChang,” Korea.

In a society [America] where obesity rates have soared to an astonishing level, with U.S. adults at 37.5% and kids at 17% (according to the CDC), these young athletes set an exemplary model for us all. With a little commitment, and willingness to take on responsibility for making the right choices when it comes to diet and exercise, they have demonstrated by their actions that change is possible.

As I have always believed, taught to my students and encouraged in my own kids, make sound, healthy choices when it comes to food, exercise regularly, and guess what…the body takes care of itself. Remarkable piece of machinery we have…the human body, AMAZING!!!

Thanks Bart for the share, and all that you do in supporting others; you are one of a kind. Now if we can get these young athletes to teach what they have learned to the masses…maybe then, our culture’s continued path down the road to, how shall I say…”fatness” and health risk, will turn a positive corner.

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