Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Olympian Jared Connaughton wants to inspire youths to reach their potential

Olympian Jared Connaughton
wants to inspire youths to reach their potential
The Guardian

CORNWALL — Speaking to friends and family seemed almost more difficult for Jared Connaughton than sprinting to the finish line at the Beijing Olympics.
The track-and-field Olympian choked up and his eyes filled with tears as he spoke to friends, family and supporters at the APM Centre in Cornwall on Sunday.
Although the 23-year-old competed this summer in front of millions around the world at the Olympic Games in China, Connaughton said addressing his home community was a different challenge all together.
“I was in the Bird’s Nest (Olympic stadium in Beijing) with 90,000 people and I’m more nervous here than I was there,” said the runner.
“It’s experiences like this that continue to motivate me for the future. With support from the communities and from friends and family I know that this positive direction will continue.”
Although Connaughton didn’t medal in his first Olympics, the congratulatory reception Sunday was a testament to the respect and pride the community feels for the New Haven native.
An award at his former Bluefield High School will be named after him, and will honour the male or female athlete at the school who represents his sportsmanship, dedication and athletic excellence.
Darryl Boudreau, representing the Bluefield family of schools, recalled how Connaughton came to him in his Grade 12 year about his decision to focus solely on track and field.
“That was a pretty mature decision for a 17-year-old kid to make,” said Boudreau.
Connaughton said he wants to inspire young people to reach their potential, even if he was a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a role model.
“Kids come up to me and they say, ‘You’re my hero’, and I just scratch my head and think, ‘All I do is run in a straight line’,” he said, breaking down into tears.
“If I can inspire the future to challenge themselves and aspire to go down a path to something more, then that’s a great thing.”
Connaughton recently graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington,
and is the 2008 Canadian champion in the 200-metre distance.
In Beijing, he qualified for the semi-finals in the 200-m sprint and ran the third leg as a member of the Canadian 4x100m relay team, which placed sixth.
His next major competition will be the 2009 World Championships in Germany, with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London, England.
Connaughton said the support from Prince Edward Island carried him through the Beijing Olympics.
“Even when I was there, I was getting e-mails and phone calls from people from all over the Island. Now, when I came back, I get letters of appreciation, letting me know how much they followed me and supported it. It’s really an honour to expose what I love to people who may not have followed it as much.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

one of the best 200m runners