Janet Evans’ experiences at each of her Olympic appearances are the basis for an inspiring keynote about Resilience and Dealing With Change. And it all started when Janet’s father took the family to The Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games here in Los Angeles. Janet turned to her mom that day and said “I want to be an Olympian.”
After Janet made the 1988 Olympic Team, she traveled to Hawaii with her USA Swimming team prior to the games in Seoul, South Korea. A chance meeting in Hawaii with legendary swimmer Mark Spitz was the start of a long term mentor relationship, as Spitz taught Janet the difference between merely winning and Becoming a Champion. In Seoul at the 1988 Summer Games, Janet won Gold Medals in each of her 3 events–setting a World record in the 400 meter IM.
4 years later at The Barcelona Games of 1992, Janet again won Gold (800 freestyle) and added a Silver Medal in the 400 free. Janet shares the fact that she was too confident in that 400 freestyle race, and as she eased up on her way to what she knew was another Gold Medal, an opponent edged her out for the victory. That Silver Medal is her most prized Olympic medal.
At the age of 40, while walking on the beach in Southern California with her husband and 2 young sons, Janet tells of a call from her old swimming coach to urge her to try a comeback because Janet’s record times were not being reached by the new wave of young competitors. Janet reluctantly began to practice again, and her hard work got her to the Olympic Trials in Omaha. On an early weekday morning when Janet knew that nobody would even be on hand to see her heat, a sold out crowd chanting her name and raising signs in admiration for her made Janet realize just what her calling had become: she was now the role model for a brand new generation of 15 and 16 year old Olympic-hopeful women swimmers.
Janet got smoked by the competition that day in Omaha, but a wonderful lesson was learned. In the moment of her inspiring keynote speech when as she shares that final lesson with your audience, they’ll all understand more about Resiliency, Dealing with Change, and the value placed on Gold Medal accomplishment.