Eminent person Introductory Post

Raymond Kurzweil (also know as Ray Kurzweil)

For my eminent person project i have decided to study Ray Kruzweil.  The reason i have chosen Ray is because i have always had a passion for technology and books and i find him interesting. We are similar and different ways. A couple examples of how we are similar is race and gender. A few examples of how we are different is age, religious faith and net worth. I intend to learn about Raymond Kurzweil and to gain time management, researching, writing and public speaking skills.

Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil was born on February 12, 1948 and grew up in Queens, New York, US. His family immigrated from Austria before he was born to avoid World war 2. His father was a musician and his mother was a visual artist. When he grew up he had an exposure to a wide variety and diversity of religious faiths through Unitarian Universalism. When he was 5 years old he decided that he wanted to be an inventor.  During his academic education he excelled at Science, more specifically computer science. He won first prize in the international science fair with one of his personal projects.

In 1974 he invented the omni-font optical character recognition system, a computer program that could recognize text in any normal written font. After completing it he decided he would use his technology to create a reading machine for the blind, he finished it on January 12, 1976 and it was called the Kurzweil Reading machine.  His next major invention  was in the realm of electronic music instruments, he developed a device capable of successfully synthesizing and duplicating the sounds of a number of real instruments. After this he began to develop a computer speech recognition system for commercial purposes. The first product while being a early version debuted in 1987.

He also began to Publish books and movies. He has written  quite a few books his first was published in 1990. A notable and recent book of his is “The Singularity Is Near” written in 2005 has been turned into major motion picture.

Kurzweil is currently married to  Sonya Rosenwald Fensterand has two children, a son and a daughter. His wife is a child psychologist who he married in 1975. His son is a venture capitalist and his daughter is a choreographer.

In 2012, Ray Kurzweil was hired as Director of Engineering at Google, to lead  a team of people developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding.

 

Introducing Shane McConkey

Who is Shane McConkey?

Shane McConkey was a professional skier and base jumper, Shane spent life redefining what was possible on skis including, Ski base.

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He was born Dec 30, 1969, in Vancouver British Columbia. His parents Jim McConkey, a ski school instructor and Glenn McConkey, an 8 time national champion ski racer got him started in skiing as a toddler. At a young age Shane was competitive ski racer, he excelled, he was always “the one to beat” at competitions. Sane did have the skills to pay the bills but skills can only get you so far as  racers usually need a bigger bulkier build that he did not have. He was athletically gifted and he knew that having skis on his feat made sense but still didn’t know what that was. Shane got a scholarship to the University of Colorado through his ski racing.  Things were looking good for Shane, if he was going to make it to the Canadian team this was the next step.McConkey1

Later, Shane wasn’t doing very well in school. When he went to go tryout for the national team he didn’t make it.

 

Meet- Bill Gates

Bill Henry Gates III was born October 28 1955 in Seattle Washington. He was born an only child to Mary and William gates who never could have dreamed that their son would one of the most successful businessmen ever born, being the richest person on the “Forbes list of richest people” for fourteen years spanning from 1995- 2007 then again in 2008. In 1999 he became the world first centibillionaire when his wealth briefly surpassed $101 billion. With his fortune he has started an organization with his wife Melinda Gates called the “Bill and Melinda Gates foundation” that has donated over 30 billion dollars in grants. The company donates around 3 billion dollars every year, they give to anyone who can convince them they need the money; you apply for a grant and they will give you one, they have given to tonnes of causes in the US from Agricultural Development to water, sanitation and hygiene.bill-gates-quotes

Bill was born into a upper-middle class family, he developed an early interest in computers, the were some funds at “Lakeside School” where he was enrolled so they purchased one of the first computers a “Teletype Model 33” witch him and a few other students became engrossed in technology as it advanced he actually was banned along with four peers by the company because they were hacking into the system and exploiting bugs and glitches to be able to use the computer for free. After the ban the group of students were actually hired to find bugs for the company. This was the starting block for his career in technology he went on to write code for the school and was later penalized   for altering the software to put himself in classes with “a disproportionate number of interesting girls.” He later went on to say “it was hard to tear myself away from a machine at which I could so unambiguously demonstrate success.”

bill-gatesGates went on to study at Harvard university after graduation but dropped out and started what would go on to be one of the most revolutionary companies the world has ever seen, He started the company with his friend from Lakeside School; Paul Alan, the co-founder of Microsoft. The goings were very slow for the first 5 years from 1975 to 1980 the main achievement was copyrighting the name Microsoft, During the first 5 years of the company Gates returned to Harvard to complete his studies and still managed to read over every line of code any Microsoft employee ever wrote. In 1980 Microsoft made its first big step and struck a deal with IBM to create an operating system (OS) and sold the rights to the system to IBM for $50,000 and used it to leapfrog its way to releasing the very first windows OS to the public. Windows 1.0 contended with Apple but was not nearly as popular but as Windows 2.0 and 3.0 and finally 3.1 were realized the company was rapidly growing, then in 1995 Windows 95 was realised being the most competitive operating system Microsoft had ever released and they just kept going from there, they went on to reshape the world of personal and corporate computers forever.

william-bill-gates-microsoftWhen it comes to my similarity’s with Bill Gates we are both white, males that were born into upper middle class families. We both devolved interests in technology and business from an early age, him using computers when he was 13 when they first came out and me playing Mr. Potato head games and go fish online when I was 5, though I have never gotten into coding and don’t really know the first thing about it that would be something I would be interested in and could possibly even transition into my in-depth. Being the same age Bill was when he started coding I feel I could be taking a very similar path with my electives being Business and Information Technology I am getting an insight into the world that Bill Gates is living. Throughout this project I hope to get closer to myself and look at where I want to go with my life, help me get a better insight into possible career paths.

Tavi Gevinson

Ever since I first found out about the eminent project, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the perfect person to make my eminent person; and have decided to choose someone who I have admired greatly for a while now and is a very important person to me. I chose Tavi Gevinson, not only because she has affected my life; but also because I find her endlessly fascinating and have always felt there was more to her that I could learn from. Tavi has affected my life in a large number of different ways and I am very excited to share everything about how truly amazing my eminent person is.

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“Feminism to me means fighting. It’s a very nuanced, complex thing, but at the very core of it I’m a feminist because I don’t think being a girl limits me in any way.” – Tavi Gevinson

I don’t feel that putting all her accomplishments into a couple of paragraphs really does her justice; but nevertheless here is a brief summary of the things she does and who she is.

Tavi Gevinson is an Actress, Feminist, Writer, Singer, and Editor-In-Chief of her very own unique online magazine Rookie Mag. She was born and raised in the suburban town of Oak Park, Illinois and is 18 years old; just recently graduated from high school.

I’m going to bring you guys back to the start of her tumultuous and successful career, which all started from her bedroom. She started her first fashion blog Style Rookie in 2008 when she was only 12 years old, and became well known for her unique grandma-like sense of style. She was practically a pre-teen queen; The website was a massive success, with an average of 30,000 readers per day. She was sent on trips to New York, Paris, and even Tokyo for fashion events. She was the youngest fashion blogger to make it on her own to New York and Paris fashion week. She was even interviewed by The New York Times for an article about young bloggers. At this point, it was clear to see that Tavi was different than most of the other tweenage bloggers. Style Rookie opened up doors for her and gave her extraordinary opportunities that really affected the rest of her career.

Blogger Tavi Gevinson (L) poses for a photo with Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Anna Wintour
Tavi and Anna Wintour. “When I wrote my blog and went to fashion week, I got a lot of shade from older editors about paying my dues and educating myself. I get where they were coming from, but it’s also weird now to see their institutions scramble to use the internet in a way that’s not savvy, but genuinely effective and exciting to people. I’ve been doing that for years.” – Tavi Gevinson

Later on in her blogging career, around early 2011 Tavi decided to shift her focus from fashion onto feminist discussion and pop culture. She became less obsessed with what she was wearing and more interested in Riot Grrrls and smashing the patriarchy. This change of interest led to her next project… Rookie Mag! Rookie Mag is hailed all across the world and has become a source of inspiration for tons of young girls. It is basically the bible for teenage girls, its a good place to discuss feminism and get advice for REAL LIFE teenage girl tragedies. Rookie is an online magazine made for and written by mostly teenage girls. Featuring advice articles, comics, illustrations, photography, DIYS, play lists, feminist discussion and much more. Six days after its debut, Rookie had already received more than one million hits, and touched the hearts of thousands of teenage girls. In September of 2012 Tavi spoke for TEDxTeen and Rookie Yearbook one was published and sold in stores. Each year following the first yearbook, another yearbook was published, just a week ago the Rookie Yearbook Three was published.

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During the 2012 US presidential campaign, Tavi was a supporter of the Barack Obama, and helped out with a public service announcement for womens rights, mouthing the words to Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me”

Aside from blogging, Tavi has always acted. She is represented by the Hollywood agency UTA. Recently she has been focusing on her acting more, and is starring in the broadway production of This Is Our Youth, with Micheal Cera and Kieran Culkin. The production opened on Sept 11th.

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The things she has done at such a young age just from blogging in her bedroom really make her stand out and empower tons of young girls across the world. I know for a fact after reading Rookie for the first time about two summers ago, I got inspired and started spending more of my time creating things. Tavi and the work I would see every day in Rookie started to inspire everything I made.

Although me and Tavi don’t share exact geographical locations, she was just a young girl who lived in a suburban town and had tons of time on her hands, which led to her creating tons of beautiful things that a wide variety of people could benefit from. We both grew up in similar suburban towns in North America, with a keen interest for sharing our ideas on the Internet starting from a young age. I always felt like I could relate to Tavi, from the things she wrote to the things she valued and all the interests we shared. Tavi has always been and will continue to be a very special and influential person in my life.

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Out of this project I’d like to learn more about her accomplishments and her processes towards achieving them, and more about her values. I’d like to know more about how she kept dedicated and focused and achieved so much while being so young. I want to learn from her dedication and bring it into my own life and the things I do because I have a terrible attention span and lack dedication. It would help me greatly! I’d like to become more productive again, as I have fallen behind from a lot of the things I love because of school and this weird transitional period I’ve been going through. Tavi always helps me get inspired and I’m very excited to be focusing on her for these months that I will spend on eminent.

For the school year I’d like to learn how to use my time wisely and keep my stress under control, so that it all doesn’t come back to haunt me a couple days before Night of The Notables. I can use this throughout the school year and school years to come, procrastination and stress are basically the only problems I have with school, and I’m willing to fix them.

I really want to get something out of this project, and really put my whole into it. I want eminent to be something that I benefit from and will learn more about myself through, looking forward to getting started!

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Eminent Person Introductory Post- Meet Dilma Rousseff

We all know the injustice that women, as a whole, face against men. They may end up with lesser pay, fewer job options, less respect (and so on and so on), just because she is a woman. However, many women today are steadily gaining respect and rights due to various women’s rights movements. That is to say, many are. Some people, especially women, are still being treated unfairly and discriminated against, because of their race. Despite being a both Latino and a woman, my eminent, Dilma Vana Rousseff, is well on the road to become one of the most important politicians in the world.

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Born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on December 14, 1947, Rousseff was born into an upper-middle class family. Her career as a politician started at a very young age, as she became a socialist, and fought against the military dictatorship with Marxist urban guerilla groups, following the 1964 Brazilian coup d’etat. During this time, she married Claudio Galeno Linhares. As a result of her association with Marxist groups, she was captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972, and was tortured.

After her release, Rousseff returned to studying economics, and graduated in 1977. Divorcing Galeno, she soon married Carlos Araujo, and gave birth to her only child Paula. In the early 1980s, Rousseff an Araugo joined the PDT (Democratic Labour Party). As the PDT became more and more successful, she was able to hold a series of jobs as an adviser and bureaucrat at the state level. As a result, the state governor of Rio Grande do Sul appointed her as the Secretary of Energy (now called Secretary of Mines, Energy, and Communications). Around the same time, she left her husband.

Due to some conflicts within the PDT, Rousseff decided to leave the party to join the Workers’ Party, lead by a man named Lula. In 2002, Lula was elected to be the president of Brazil, and appointed Rousseff as his chief of staff. After (his maximum of) two incredibly successful terms, Lula deemed Rousseff as his preferred successor. Although it was a tight election, many experts say that it was her bonds with Lula which got her the position as the first female president of Brazil in 2010.

It is widely thought that Brazil, along with China and India, are emerging economic powerhouses. As the president, Rousseff says it is her “fundamental commitment” to eradicate poverty in Brazil and to promote Brazil’s economic development. She has also been part of an industry trying to make vehicles run off of (sugar cane) ethanol, which would be a much greener alternative to the petroleum gas vehicles we typically drive. She is also known to have stood up to the United States: decline meetings with President Obama, speak out on what they are doing wrong, etc. Finally, Rousseff is currently trying to bridge the gap between Brazil’s political and social stability.

In terms of similarities between her and I, we are both female, living today, and born into middle-class families. She has a very strong, “masculine-like” personality (so her nickname is the “Iron Lady”), which I think I possess to some extent. She is also very interested in making Brazil and the world a better place by abolishing poverty, being greener, etc, which is one of the things I would like to do most, during my lifetime.

Even though we do not have a long list of things in common, our motivation to help have suitable living conditions for everyone and trying to lessen the gap between the rich in the poor is very similar. Not only is she a woman, but she is trying to do good to the world such as making Brazil have greener energy sources and abolishing poverty. Despite the hardships she faced during her life, including being tortured, marrying and divorcing twice, and losing her jobs countless times, she was able to persevere and overcome those problems; she is being named as one of the most powerful leaders in the world by magazines such as Forbes! I had considered doing other female world leaders, such as Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel, but Dilma Rousseff was, in my opinion, the most heroic, has a personality close to mine, and is very/the most inspiring. Once I read a bit about her, I was instantly intrigued, and I knew immediately she would be a great person to do for my Eminent Project.

 

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When I watch global news, I have started to realize that the news we get here in Canada is quite selective. It seems to me as if they have forgotten there are actually more countries than just the first-world countries on the planet we live on today, because all of the news we get is almost exclusively from large, “advanced” countries such as the US, Russia, and Japan. Unless there is a major Ebola epidemic, a war, or anything else that is dire, the “others” don’t get on our news, hence creating an image that only bad things go on in those countries. By doing Dilma Rousseff as my eminent, I hope to show that not only are those countries quite different from their reputation, they are actually doing much good in our world (possibly more than us?!?!). I also hope to learn a bit more about world politics and the intricate system known as the world economy, all the while learning a bit more about my beliefs, morals, and values.

“I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say ‘yes, women can.’”

~Dilma Rousseff

Suckerpunch

Stickboy, created and performed by the Vancouver Opera Company, is the work of visionaries. It combines animation with set design; a sharp, modern and powerful score; and a libretto that, more often than not, aims to emotionally suckerpunch the audience. Stickboy follows the true story of a boy, raised by his grandmother, who is brutally bullied at school. This catalyses the boy into a bully himself, and only after an intensely traumatizing period of self harm does he gain the insight that forces him to change his ways.

What Stickboy doesn’t illustrate, however, is that the boy went on to begin a life of artistry. Weaving words into tapestries to both entertain and educate, the boy gained international acclaim when he performed his spoken word poetry at the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies. That opportunity catapulted him into a performance career that has garnered admiration worldwide.

That boy’s name is Shane Koyczan.

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I know, rockin’ neck beard right? I’m a little worried as to how I’m going to pull it off – because I am going to be becoming Mr. Koyczan for the Eminent Person Project in 2014!

I have been looking forward to the Eminent Project ever since last year’s ended.  I was planning to a do a woman, you see – expressly for the purpose of breaking the frustrating dynamic of ‘no boys in TALONS have ever done a female Eminent Person.’ However, as soon as I realized I could do Koyczan, those lofty dreams fell out the window.

Shane Koyczan was the voice that drew me into slam poetry. I can remember long nights, burning the midnight oil, listening to scratchy Youtube recording’s of his work. I would be amazed at the way he wielded words like a scalpel with which to cut apart the listener’s preconceptions of tragedy. Never, had I thought that I would one day be trying to emulate that same art form.

A year or so after I discovered listening to poetry, I discovered writing slam poetry. Since then, it has been a roller coaster of performances, rapid growth and an expanding acceptance of what ‘art’ is. At my school, I am trying to give back that experience of poetry to my peers. It seems only fitting, that my Eminent should reflect the beginnings of this journey.

Koyczan was born in Yellowknife, 1976, but grew up in Penticton, British Columbia; his family moved there due to the awful bullying at his school. Little could they expect that the cycle would continue in Penticton, only this time with a cruel twist – Koyczan became the instigator that he had hated so very much in Yellowknife. In his grade 12 year, Koyczan began cutting, which he says was “because of the immense hatred I held for myself. I suffocated in it. Cutting was, it seemed to me, letting light into my body.”

In 1993, Koyczan was rushed to the hospital due to critical blood loss. The near death experience was the turning point in his life. This is where Koyczan left behind much of his anger, and began writing.

One of the fantastic things about Koyczan’s work is that he writes strictly about his own experiences. He disguises them in flowing, rythmic verse; and it makes every single one of his poems so much more poignant. He has been praised by critics for speaking to the issue “as if he had lived them,” which in turn brings about responses from his fans, explaining that he has, in fact, went through the things he writes about. His poetry is very real.

In 2005, Koyczan published his first book, which was selected by The Globe and Mail and The Guardian for their best book of the year lists. Following up that success, he performed the poem We are More at the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, garnering him international acclaim. He is a rising star of the global sphere.

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Koyczan’s eminence comes from his excellent poetry. His excellent poetry, in turn, is given a unique, sharp viewpoint due to his childhood. I will be studying his art, his story, and perhaps most importantly of all – his future.

In 2013, he created a video called To This Day with the animation company Giant Ant. To This Day is arguably his greatest success, going viral on Youtube with over 13.4 million views. It speaks to the bullies, the victims, the bystanders, and gives all of them hope for the future. The momentum this gave him allowed him to write and produce an Opera, known as Stickboy (refer to the beginning of the post).

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Shane Koyczan has the eye of the world on him, and he seems to only be going bigger with each accomplishment.

“May the depth of your despair remain only in the shallow end.” – Shane Koyczan

 

eminent intro post

 

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For my eminent persons study I have decided to study Bethany Hamilton. You may recognize this name but she is more widely recognized as soul surfer.  Bethany is well known for her story of perseverance after losing her arm in a shark attack and continuing to pursue her career as a professional surfer. Bethany lost her left arm when she was 13 years old and barely survived the attack after losing 60% of her blood before reaching a hospital. Despite how incredible this story is Bethany’s shark attack is not why I choose her for this project. Bethany has grown from a shark attack victim into an international role model, she has inspired people all over the world with her unfailing perseverance and stubborn optimism.  Although Bethany hasn’t impacted the world with any majorly marked event her spirit and message is something that has changed perspectives all over the world. Bethany is truly eminent because of the person she is and not because of what happened to her in 2003.

All These Amazing Women: Decisions, Decisions – Eminent 2014

Well, as with any project that comes with a big choice that will largely impact the project in its entirety, I struggle to make that choice. Decisions are certainly a weakness for me, although, if Mr. Albright is correct, then they are also my strengths. So in light of my indecisiveness, in this post I will explore my top four considerations for the project and my reasoning for my difficulties, and hopefully along the way my thoughts will be cleared and the light will appear, shining on my eminent person for this year.

As you can probably tell from my title, I have been able to agree with myself that I will most certainly be doing a woman for my study. I have always been very passionate about equality of all types especially equal rights for women, so this was a fairly straightforward decision. I also decided that I wanted to study an athlete, seeing as I am an athlete myself and I feel a strong connection to female athletes. Also, all the skills that must be present in high level athletes both on the court, or playing field, and off, is truly remarkable. However, that’s where the clarity ends. When I am making a decision like this, I always struggle because I try to find the absolute perfect match, but really perfect doesn’t exist so you may say it’s a waste of my time. The way I look at it though, is rather I am trying to find the one topic, in this case person, that I am the most passionate about, this will allow me to have the most fun and get the most out of my project, which I think is a lot of what the eminent project is about. That being said, the decision takes just as long. Over the past few days, and hours, I have managed to narrow down my options to four: Clara Hughes, Teresa Gabriele, Becky Hammon, and Silken Laumann. These four women have many things in common, however they also have many experiences and characteristics that set them apart.

Teresa Gabriele
Becky Hammon
Silken Laumann
Clara Hughes

You may be wondering who Teresa Gabriele and Becky Hammon are. I suppose you may also be wondering who Silken, and maybe even who Clara, is too, but we’ll get to them later. To start, Teresa and Becky are both retired women’s basketball players who have succeeded undeniably and outstandingly in their respective ways. Teresa grew up in Mission BC and is about 5’6 in height. Similarly, Becky is below the basketball average at about 5’6 in height, however Becky grew up in Rapid City South Dakota. Both of these phenomenal players generally played the point guard position, often the leader of the team.

 

 

I started playing basketball in grade three, and ever since the first time I knew who she was, I have been idolizing Teresa Gabriele. Basketball is my passion and I look up to Teresa for many reasons, including the fact that she is somewhat short, in basketball terms, and I am about her height and not sure how much more I am going to grow. Also, she is from BC.  What makes her so amazing though, is her unwavering commitment to the game of basketball in Canada over the years. She played on the national team for an incredible 16 years, and while fighting through countless injuries, changed the face of women’s basketball in Canada. She has inspired me so much and showed how anything is possible for anyone, and any country if you try.

From the beginning, Becky was not the favourite. She was short and grew up in a somewhat outlying region for basketball, but she didn’t let any of this stop her. When she finished her years playing at college, unbelievably she went un-drafted in the WNBA, but even this didn’t stop her. When she was invited to a tryout in New York, she blew everyone away and ensuingly did the same to the entire WNBA that year. She is now the first full time female assistant coach ever in the NBA, just to give you a few of her achievements. It touched me this summer when her retirement was announced at the end of the WNBA season and she made history in the NBA. She has left such a legacy in women’s basketball and continues to develop her legacy in basketball in general, paving the way for more women to follow.

On a different note, my other two athletes have done much more than just sports. While they each have engaging and inspiring athletics stories, they have also done much more for their communities, and the world at large. This is very important to me as I also love many things outside of sports, especially helping others. I have been in me to we for the last 3 years and am continuing this year along with having a very strong passion for other charitable work in the community and globally.

     Clara is a renowned speed skater and cyclist, she has won medals for Canada in both the summer and winter Olympics, but her success is really off the field of play. She has committed countless hours to her work for mental health awareness and several other charities in Canada and around the world. Her recent campaign that happens annually in Canada ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ is an initiative dedicated to mental health awareness, and this past summer she cycled across Canada for the cause. Clara herself went through mental health struggles which have contributed to her passion to help others who are going through the same thing. For me, Clara is such an inspirational person, every time I see her either competing, doing charitable work, and being interviewed, she seems so happy. Her light and energy spread and her smile lights up the atmosphere in which she is in and also to anyone who is watching, at least me.

Finally, Silken Laumann. For those of you who have not heard of her before, she is a former Team Canada world champion and    multi-Olympic medallist rower, but she is most widely known for her miraculous comeback only weeks before the 1992 Olympics. Ten weeks before the games, her scull was broadsided by another boat while training. Her boat’s shell shattered and tore into her skin, ripping it apart as well as her muscles and damaging her bones. However, like the other women I have talked about, this incident wasn’t stopping her. The doctors in Germany, where she was, told she may never be able to row again, but she determinedly set out on a mission to compete at the Olympics in less than 10 weeks and make her Olympic dream come true. She asked the doctors for a rubber band and asked them to tie it to the end of her bed. Over the course of the next few weeks, she pulled on the band from the head of her bed providing mild training. She went through intense rehabilitation and only ten weeks after the accident, she competed at the Olympics and won bronze. If that doesn’t seem like enough, her impact also extends far beyond her rowing comeback. She currently talks as an inspirational speaker and contributes to many charities and initiatives. Her recent self-written memoir shows not only her struggle in her athletic times, but also in her childhood.Her story is unbelievable and really shows the power of true grit and determination, and how when you set your mind on something, you truly can achieve anything.

So obviously I am not going to be able to do all four of these spectacular and inspirational women, but also, I think it is clear that I am having some difficulty making up my mind. Silken Laumann once said “Change is essential to growth. Embrace Change!” . Well, my thoughts are certainly going to have to change or at least settle, my mind’s mettle will have to emerge for me to concur with myself on one of these phenomenal athletes; and when it does, I will dive whole-heartedly into the cause.