This post is a story is from the United States Olympic Committee(USOC) Curriculum Series. This account is of Gail Devers.
Gail Devers was a superb college runner at UCLA. She owned records in both the 100-meter dash and the 100-meter hurdles – her specialties. Swift and talented were the two words that came to mind when anyone mentioned Gail. She was finishing up her college career as the 1988 Olympics approached. Gail made the team; she’d be going to Seoul, South Korea.
But Gail began to experience physical problems. First came pulled muscles and numb legs during races. Her performance began to suffer too. Her troubles worsened. She was experiencing severe headaches, blurred vision, and shaky hands. She had lost weight. Her well-muscled and fit 120-pound body was down to a not-so-fit 97 pounds. Gail Devers, the speed demon, could no longer win.
At first, Gail’s doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. Was it bronchitis, hereditary headaches, or training fatigue? In 1990, a team physician finally diagnosed Grave’s disease – a condition where a person’s thyroid becomes enlarged and doesn’t work properly. All of her physical problems were traced back to it.
Gail took radioactive iodine treatment for her thyroid problems with her feet. The painful swelling and blistering would not go away. It got so bad that she couldn’t walk. Gail was especially worried about her feet. Her doctors decided to adjust her treatment one last time. It had to work.
Gail not only recovered, but she set her sights on competing in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. She had less than two years to train; it would take all the discipline she could muster. The 1992 Olympics finally arrived. Gail was in the 100-meter finals. She crossed the finish line to take the gold medal in 10.82 seconds.
In 2007 Gail was still competing and winning at the age of 40. In 2011 she was elected into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
What are you willing to be disciplined about?
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