Steve Mesler, 4-man Bobsled, Olympic Champion
Steve Mesler is a three-time United States Olympian and 2010 Gold Medalist in 4-man bobsled, motivational speaker, and philanthropist who has dedicated much of his life-to-date to achieving one major goal: winning an Olympic Gold Medal. He is now committed to sharing his experiences and the life lessons he learned while breaking a 62-year American Olympic Gold Medal drought.
What got you started in your sport?
I was a decathlete at the University of Florida and had just finished my career off with a fourth year of injury that ultimately ended with Tommy John surgery on my elbow. I wasn’t ready for my athletic career to be over but realized track just wasn’t the path for me so I took a shot at bobsled by emailing the USOC, telling them what I did and asking if bobsled could be right for me. The next day I received an email back from the bobsled federation, a year and a half later I was on my first Olympic Team and eight years later I was climbing to the top of the podium.
What advice would you give to students about following their passion/their dreams?
Sometimes the areas we 'knew' we were going to succeed in just don't work out and it's up to us to find our success and live our dreams in any way we can. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. But when you find yourself beating your head against a brick wall, take a look around, figure out why, and evaluate how to get around it. It may be something you've never thought of doing before, or something you never thought you could do. If it has the potential to lead you to your goals, then it will be the right decision.
How do you give back?
Along with my sister, I have founded a non-profit program, Classroom Champions, that connects a select group of Olympian and Paralympian role-models with under-served students around the U.S., Canada and Costa Rica using today's latest communications technology. We have assembled many dedicated volunteers who are so enthusiastic about the program and what it strives to do: teach students how to set goals, overcome adversity and live positive lives while at the same time increasing their digital literacy through the technology we use to facilitate the program. It is something that when I was their age, I would have found amazing. I feel privileged that I'm in a position to create something like this.