This blog post continues two related S2KM series:
S2KM: Randy, with your busy travel schedule, have you found any time to watch the Beijing Olympics?
Randy Snow: I have been fortunate to be around my office for the Olympics - or did I subconsciously set it up that way? At night, I am glued to the television. Why isn't everyone watching? These Olympic athletes have dedicated their lives for this moment. They put their dreams on the line in public and must handle the results. Every athlete has a story with lessons that are germane for our own lives. I am fixated.
S2KM: What has impressed you so far?
Randy Snow: So far, my favorite events are men's swimming and women's gymnastics. What can you say about Michael Phelpps? Humility 101. When our American women gymnasts (Nastia Luikin, Shawn Johnson, Alicia Sacramone and the rest) lost to the Chinese women, they stood on the podium and handled the situation with grace. I was in tears. Sure they were devastated. These sixteen year olds females risked their athletic lives during a profoundly public moment - and failed to win the Gold Medal. I am impressed with all of these athletes.
S2KM: The 2008 Summer Paralympics will take place in Beijing September 6-17. Will there be any television or Internet coverage available?
Randy Snow: I am not sure. Unfortunately, para-athletes are still considered human interest stories. There may be some local news coverage for specific athletes. The Internet should have good coverage.
S2KM: Who are the leading para-athletes in the world today?
Randy Snow: I only keep track of the tennis players. Among the men, Shingo Kunieda from Japan is the best. Among the women, Esther Vergeer from Holland appears unbeatable. The best American players are Steve Welch and Kaitlyn Verfuerth.
S2KM: Which countries have the best para-athletic teams?
Randy Snow: Those countries that have:
- Acknowledged the Paralympic athlete as an athlete; and
- Successfully blended the governing Paralympic sports organizations with their "able-bodied" sports organizations.
Based upon these measurements, the leading Paralympic countries are Holland, England and Japan. The United States Olympic Committee provides support for the United States Paralympic team. The United States Paralympic athletic program, however, does not match those other countries.
S2KM: In how many Paralympics did you participate?
Randy Snow: I participated in four (4) Paralympic competitions and one (1) Olympic competition.
S2KM: What were the U.S. team tryouts like?
Randy Snow: I felt more pressure in the tryouts than I did in the Olympics. I really wanted to go. You might compare the tryouts to the engagement before the wedding.
S2KM: What is your best memory of your Paralympic experience?
Randy Snow: The opening ceremonies in Barcelona, Spain. When Antonio Rebollo limped out in front of thousands of people and shot the arrow from the stadium infield up into the cauldron to light the Olympic flame. That was incredible! Of course, winning my Paralympic medals in Barcelona was awesome. My best personal Olympic memory, however, was standing on the Olympic medal stand at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.
S2KM: what was your greatest success, and most significant failure, as a Paralympic athlete?
Randy Snow: My greatest failure was finishing second in the 1500 Exhibition Race at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. A collision nearly occurred and I retreated to the pack instead to running down the winner Paul Van Winkle. I finished a disappointed second despite the standing ovation we received from the sold-out crowd. My greatest success was qualifying for the United States Paralympic team in 2000 to go to Sydney at the age of 41.
S2KM: What lessons have you learned from your Paralympic experience?
Randy Snow: Sports teaches us that we can. Set goals. Work your butt off. Build a team that believes in you. Find the best and hang out with them. Success leaves clues. Each loss is a beginning. Don't get trapped in the ending. Leave everything on the field. Live life like it will end someday.
S2KM: Thank you, Randy Snow, for sharing your time and your thinking with S2KM Limited.
This concludes S2KM's three-part Interview with Randy Snow.
For additional information about Randy Snow, see: