An evening with the Olympic Medalist- health lessons learned & a personal story!!


A few weeks back, we got free tickets to attend the screening of the documentary film Personal Gold. We were quite excited about the screening – hoping to see the great people behind the screen and above all meet Dotsie Bausch, the Olympic Medalist herself!!! We were awed to see how humble and approachable they were!!! It just felt so great to shake hands, chat, hug and take photographs with them! Totally AWESOME feeling~~~

“Personal Gold, as described by Reed Albergotti of the Wall Street Journal as ‘Miracle meets Moneyball’ gives a behind-the-scenes experience of four underdog women cyclists who become America’s hope for a medal at the 2012 London Olympics after the men’s team is banned during the Lance Armstrong drug scandal. 

The underfunded women turn to volunteers, including their husbands and an innovative approach using ‘Data not Doping’ in an attempt to do the impossible; win the first U.S. Women’s Track Cycling medal in over 20 years. “

Its an incredible & inspiring story of how the three women, Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch, Jennie Reed with the support of their family and resourceful friends were able to keep their faith and put in their best efforts to reach their Olympic goal in just 3 months, in spite of the paltry funding and personal challenges. Sincere gratitude to former Olympians Sky Christophersen and his wife Tamara Christophersen for stepping up to support the cyclists and putting together a team of volunteers to help the cyclists maximize their potential with the aid of technology. They used tools to track their performance, nutritional status, sleep, vital stats etc. They sought help to analyze all the data to get a sense of what was positively and negatively affecting the performance and consulted experts in the field for advice. They were prompt and successful in their interventions to resolve the issues that adversely affected the performance of the cyclist. According to Sky, the tools for self-quantification not only help improve performance but they help you maximize your baseline health, which he calls as “Health Performance”. 

I see that this documentary can help people hope for and achieve their personal gold!! Health usually takes the backseat in our lives and we forget that it is our health that keeps us going and how well we are going. By optimizing our health, we can optimize our performance. There are various ways for us to keep track of our health. With so many gadgets to track our activity & sleep, so many apps to help us watch our food intake, health screenings that show us how good your lipid profile/blood sugar/ blood pressure/ weight status are etc.. There is a lot of information; and we can generate a lot of data on ourselves. First and foremost, ask yourself – am I actually tracking some of this data for myself (self-quantification)? If yes, what have I done with it? Here’s what you can do with the data.

  1. I need to analyze/ comprehend the data to get a better idea of what it means and how it can affect me in the long term.
  2. I need to come up with a solution if there is actually an issue that needs to be resolved.
  3. Am I well informed about the ways to resolve our issue? If not, explore and look for ways to resolve the issue.
  4. I need to set a personal goal and come up with an action plan to achieve it.
  5. I need to be disciplined & determined enough to implement that plan.
  6. I need to be confident and hopeful about my achievement.

These are some tasks worth considering before we can actually overcome our health issues. For example, after calculating your BMI or after a health screening you realize you need to lose weight then make it your personal goal. Learn ways to eat healthy, cook healthy, increase your physical activity, sleep well, learn to manage stress etc. Try to creatively accommodate these in your schedule. You may not be able to strictly follow your schedule, but keep up the smallest effort going and build on it. It will require a lot of patience, perseverance and determination to build on your effort & some support from family & friends to make your goal a reality! Don’t give up just because it takes longer or requires more effort. Keep at it till you have achieved.

A personal story – I neglected what seemed like a minor knee injury and ended up aggravating it with my frequent traveler’s lifestyle and improper medical guidance, and ended up wrecking my health. I did my best to not gain weight in spite of limited mobility and frequent bouts of pain. However, restriction on activities took its toll and I reached a point when I could feel pain in spite of  3 Ibuprofens, and the knee swelling would never subside. It was a difficult time for me – to walk with assistance, or stand for merely 20 minutes and experience pain most part of the day. My biggest support, my family, helped me re-analyze my health issues and re-focus all my energy into recuperation before I could think of doing anything else. I owe my life to my family; I could not have recovered without their deep care and love for me and all their assistance! My close friends helped me be hopeful while looking for resources to help me recover. Total strangers came up to me to help me and became my friends for life! My sincere thanks to  my physiotherapist who put assessed my situation well and monitored my exercise routine regularly, giving me hope to be able to run again some day. The recovery process has been long drawn, never linear (more downs than ups), requiring high endurance for pain and hard work and a lot of patience. Its important to not quit! Have faith and be hopeful just the moment when you feel you have hit rock bottom. That’s the time when your life takes a new direction!

Be Healthy, Be Caring, Be Happy! 🙂


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