Now, without resorting to Google, name one woman who won a gold medal in weightlifting in Sydney.
If you're like 99.99% of America, you can't, which is funny, considering an American woman was the first American to win a gold medal in the sport in 40 years.
If you make it to the Olympics, that was a goal you strove for your whole life and it means the world to you. Good for you. I say that without a trace of sarcasm.
Now let me give you some career advice - unless you are going into something directly related to your sport, no one cares.
Dr. Rhadi Ferguson and I disagree about this. We were having lunch earlier this month and he argued that I am not impressed because I have a two-time Olympian in my own family and won a world championships myself, but that other people are extremely impressed.
Maybe. But it still won't get you hired. We have hired Justin Flores several times to do artwork and doubtless will again, but it has nothing to do with him being a world team member for judo. It has to do with being a fabulous artist. (Judge for yourself - here's a sketch of a turtle doodem he did for our next game - these are the animal symbols for clans you see on totem poles.)
I've been on many university hiring committees, for both faculty and staff positions. There have been occasions when an applicant has been NCAA All-American, Olympian or other sports honor. Invariably, a person on the committee will remark that shows work ethic and discipline. Also invariably the committee goes on to discuss the person's education, work experience and other points related to the job.
I have seen websites and resumes for people who were Olympic team members that are all about their Olympic experience and don't mention the person has a graduate degree, relevant work experience, internships or publications. I have gone as far as to rewrite resumes given to me before I passed them on because they emphasized so much of a person's athletic accomplishments and so little related to the job advertised. This was after a colleague called me and said,
What the hell do I care that this kid was on --- teams and won --- ? Half this resume is about judo!
A week after the 2008 Olympics, I mentioned to Jim Pedro, Sr. that those of us who are involved in international competition have a very skewed view of their place in the rest of the world. I said that none of the hundreds of people in the technology building I worked in even were mentioning the Olympics any more. He said sarcastically,
"Yeah, well you work with a bunch of nerds. I can just imagine the kind of physical shape they're in."
He was absolutely right, and I laughed. The truth is, though, us nerds hire a lot of people.
Take my advice - if you are applying for a job as an artist, accountant, engineer or zookeeper, start out with everything you've done relevant to that. Even if you are applying for a job in sports writing, start out with your writing qualifications.
I went to a party once attended by a lot of very successful sportswriters. When I commented that I was a bit surprised they weren't more, um, athletic, someone pointed out to me -
Sports writers aren't necessarily people who were good at sports. They're people who are good at WRITING about sports.
If you're still wondering, it was Tara Nott (Cunningham) who won the gold medal at 48 kg. She's now busy raising four children - sounds familiar!
Pretty much unrelated to this post ... Check out Winning on the Ground. Lots of people say it is a good book (besides me, that is)
Click here for Amazon
Click here for Black Belt (can get paperback, Kindle, nook & more)
And on Barnes and Noble.com for the Nook