Tag: skeleton

    “It’s not about winning, it’s about the journey and the lessons you learn along the way”

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    Yesterday I posted a little about meeting Jon Montgomery, the gold-medal winning skeleton athlete.As I mentioned, he spoke for a few minutes. He is available as a speaker, and based on the couple of minutes he spoke for, I’m sure he does a good job at giving motivating speeches. I recorded his speech, and have included the main part of his speech below. You can listen to it in the included player (available on the web site, not in the feed) below. I’ve also transcribed the speech as best I can.


    It all began in Russell, Manitoba where I was born and raised and had the pleasure of playing hockey with an unbelievable talented group of young individuals. Growing up we had it instilled in us from an early age what it was like to be competitive and to be able to have pride of ownership and be a part of a team and something greater than yourself.

    When I went to college I lost that edge, that competitive spirit because I wasn’t able to play hockey in college (we didn’t have a team in Texas or a very good one in Barrie for that matter). I was really looking for something.

    When I moved to Calgary after graduation for an auctioneering job, I had an opportunity to try some of the sports you just don’t get a chance to do in Canada because the facilities don’t exist. And because of this legacy of the ’88 games and now hopefully the legacy from the 2010 games will encourage that many more people to get involved, I had a chance to try things like speed skating, and when I did a self-guided tour of COP one day, I chanced upon a skeleton race and at the time I didn’t know skeleton existed. It wasn’t even on my radar. So I saw this athlete coming out of corner 8, going down the longest straightaway in the world, going into corner 9 in Calgary going a 125 km/h my first impression was, “Oh my god this luge athlete is going down backwards, there must have been a horrible accident.” I’m never going profess to be the sharpest guy in the world , but after seeing 4 more athletes come down in the same manner, I recognized the trend, I thought to myself, “This must be something different, I’d never seen it before.” So I made it my day’s mission to find out how I could get involved in the sport and how I could try my hand at it. A week later I got to do just that, I did my first run. And I can honestly say from that day forward I was hooked. It was like a bad drug. You know, you take that first hit and there’s no looking back. And that for me was skeleton

    From that point, I really wanted to find something to sink my teeth into, to call my own, and to eventually represent Canada at. And skeleton seemed like a good vehicle for me, something that A) I was absolutely enamored with because of the speed and the thrill factor, and B) because it seemed like a viable vehicle to get me to that national level. From that day forward, and especially since July 3, 2003 when Canada was awarded the host nation and city for the 2010 winter Olympics, that cemented my goals for me, and from that day forward I made it my mission to earn that privilege to represent our country at home in Canada.

    Along the way my goals have evolved to wanting to be the gold medal winner and stand on top of that podium. Like skeleton racing, I was involved in other extreme-type sports or adventures growing up; skydiving and bungee jumping and bridge jumping up around the muskoka area. All these sorts of things appealed to me, but I’m not like everybody else. Some people are passionate about academics, some people are passionate about art, dance, and all these things. The one thing I would encourage you to do and the one thing I actively did was I sought out challenges, I sought out new experiences I sought out things that would scare me. I sought out things that would push the limits of my comfort zone and try to step beyond them.

    Whether your interests lie in sports, or extreme sports, or academics, or arts or anything like that, I would encourage each and every one of you, and have you encourage your kids, to try to step out of your comfort zone and really push yourself. That is where you are going to find the things that really peak your interest. That is where you are going to find the things that you can be passionate about, sink your teeth into, call your own, and hopefully end up at the top. It’s not about winning, it’s about the journey and the lessons you learn along the way.

    Jon Montgomery at Imax Theater in March 2010

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    Yes, I know that I am over 3 months late on this one, but better late than never…

    Back in March, the Niagara Falls IMAX Theatre hosted a free evening where they were previewing a new film called Extreme. To help with the promotion, they brought in Jon Montgomery. Jon won a gold-medal in skeleton at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

    It was quite an evening. There was a reception before the movie where we could meet Jon and get our picture taken with him. I took my son with me and he was thrilled to meet him. He even got to help Jon hold the gold medal. Jon also signed a small flag for us as well as the tickets. Someone I know brought their collection of Olympic coins and had him sign the collector card. What a great idea! I have three sets and I wanted to kick myself for not thinking of it myself.

    There was also a girl there from Welland who had carried a torch, so we got to see and hold that as well.

    During the reception there was food and drinks available.

    Eventually we all ended up in the theatre. Mayor Ted Salci was there and gave Jon a gift, and then Jon said a few words. We then watched the movie. My son fell asleep during the movie. Not that it wasn’t exciting, but by that point we had been there for almost three hours.

    Anyway, it was a nice night. How often do you get to meet a gold-medal winning athlete? I’ve never met one before, and I don’t know when I will again, so it was a nice opportunity. Thank you IMAX Theatre!

    I took a few pictures while there. You can see the thumbnails below, or view the full images in the 20100311 Jon Montgomery at IMAX Theatre gallery.

    Note: There are now 3,019 images in 243 galleries in the Niagara Falls Image Gallery.

    Extreme athlete brings gold

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    About the only thing faster than Olympic gold medallist Jon Montgomery going downhill on his skeleton is how quickly his popularity across the country has exploded.

    From his joyous acceptance of the gold medal to his spontaneous beer-jug hoisting celebration on the streets of Whistler, B.C., Montgomery has become a national icon.

    The charismatic native of Russell, Man., is in Niagara Falls Thursday for the launch of the new IMAX film, Extreme, which profiles sports that have an extreme edge. Hurtling headfirst down the side of a mountain certainly qualifies Montgomery to be the spokesman for extreme sports.

    “The theatre, like myself, saw some incredibly strong parallels between what is going to be happening in this film and what it is that myself, my teammates and some of the other Canadians athletes who were just at the Olympics get up to with our training and competition schedule,” he said.

    If you read the article, you find out that the movie opens to the public on Friday, and that the Thursday (today) launch is an “invitation-only” event. Jon will be there for a reception, and then the movie will be shown. I will be attending with my 7-year-old son and he’s very excited. I’ve heard that there are still some seats available, so you might be able to contact the theatre and see if you can get in. I would NOT advise just showing up. They are reserving spots so that they only let in as many as can fit in the theatre.

    I’ll try to write about it on Friday, but if not, then early next week…

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