Olympians and the Physical Educators Who Primed Them for Success 


As all eyes are on Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics, some of our favorite Olympians look back at where it all started. Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Chris Waddell, Shannon Miller and Lucinda Adams are high-performance athletes whose paths to achieving gold are as different as the sports they are known for. What do they have in common? Their journey to success in sports and in life started with a physical education teacher who believed in them.


NancyHogshead-quote-imageI was physically 'pointy' -- meaning I was extraordinary at some things and completely unskilled at others. Fortunately, my PE teachers always made sure that I got the basic skills with really fun games. Now when we set up the backyard net, people will say, 'Huh. You don't play volleyball, do you?' But at least I can get out there and enjoy myself 100%!!- Nancy Hogshead-Makar,
three-time gold medal swimmer


ChrisWaddel-quote-imageMy PE teachers introduced me to a wide range of activities and the culture of fitness came from my father, who happened to be a teacher. As fate would have it, my commitment to fitness grew when I paralyzed myself. When things became more difficult, it pushed me to do and try more.- Chris Waddell,
the most decorated U.S. Paralympic sit-skier


ShannonMiller-quote-imageI was very shy as a child and my 2nd grade PE teacher took the time to understand where my comfort zone was. It was gymnastics of course! She knew how to bring the best out in each of us and that courage overflowed into all my other classes.- Shannon Miller,
the most decorated American gymnast


LucindaAdams-quote-imageThere is no telling where I would be today if my junior high/high school coach who was also my physical education teacher, had not recognized my God-given talent to run fast and excel in athletics. He truly made a difference, not only in my athletic involvement, but he taught me the importance of fair play, commitment, dedication, perseverance, the love of sports and physical activity. To him I will be eternally grateful. - Lucinda Adams,
gold medal sprinter