“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill might seem an odd person to discuss success by talking about failure but the truth is he knew wherein he spoke. Far too often we are our own biggest impediment to achieving our goals.
Bonnie Kathleen Blair was born into a family who liked speed – on the ice, that is. She began speed skating at the age of four and soon was competing. At age nineteen she joined the Olympic speed skating team for training and set a world record in 1987 in France for the short track. She seemed a sure fit for the world stage for the 1984 games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, a country now divided into two – Bosnia and Herzegovina. Success was not to be hers that year, however. Bonnie ranked eighth in the 500-meter event, a disappointing finish.
In 1988, Bonnie came back strong, winning a gold in the 500-meter and bronze in the 1000-meter events. Four years later she continued her winning streak and took home gold medals in both events. She repeated both wins in 1994 after the Winter and summer Olympics were split. Bonnie Blair is not the typical speed skater and is actually smaller than most. Still, with determination she developed and perfected a nearly flawless skating technique and is now considered one of the most decorated Olympians in Olympic history and that doesn’t just limit her success to female athletes!
Off the ice Bonnie has also gained respect and found success. Married to skater Dave Cruikshank since 1986, Bonnie is the mother of two athletes. Son Grant is a hockey player and daughter Blair competes in gymnastics. Bonnie spends her time being a motivational speaker and corporate spokesperson. She lives in Wisconsin but has not forgotten that success is also a team sport.
“I appreciate the support I got from Central Illinois. I had a lot of people in my court who were very instrumental in helping me chase my dreams. Each Olympics had a lot of special meanings in their own right. In Calgary, winning the 500 in world-record time, I think there has got to be something said for doing something for the very first time. It’s not to say my other wins weren’t thrilling and exciting. They were in their own way.”
Bonnie’s words remind us that the support we give each other is crucial in life. We all define success differently. This weekend some will celebrate being mothers while others will grieve their own mothers’ passing. Still there are some who are not mothers and the day will give them sorrow.
The truth is that we all give birth each and every day to our own lives. We are the mothers of our dreams and only we can strive to achieve them. If you are reading this, then you are successful. You can operate a computer, understand the written word, and are alive. Those might not seem like victories but to someone without those skills, they are everything.
I hope this weekend you take time to thank someone who has helped you along the way. Your journey is not done and the finish line has yet to be reached by any of us. There is reason to celebrate, nonetheless, and reason to give thanks. Have a great day and remember. Today is just a rest stop to the rest of your life.