April Holmes was lying in a hospital bed when she first heard of the Paralympic Games. She had lost part of her leg in a train accident, and a doctor told her of the competition for disabled athletes. Immediately April began setting goals—to wear the USA uniform, to break records, and to win gold medals.
April’s key to success throughout her recovery and training was perseverance. As she puts it, “It’s not about how bad you want something, it’s about how bad you are willing to work to get that something.” April never gave up and, one by one, she met all of her goals.
I consider training 100% physical and 100% mental, for it takes all you have physically and mentally to represent the United States and also to be a gold medalist. One of the more challenging things is to make sure you stay focused at all times on your goals. If so, regardless of the outcome, you will be successful knowing you gave your best.
Having attended school in the inner city, I constantly reminded myself not to fall victim to some of the negative things around me. I knew so many people in jail, pregnant, on drugs, and consuming alcohol. With every decision I had to make, I always asked myself, “Is it worth it?” My answer dictated my action. So I always allowed school, track, and basketball to keep me busy so I would stay out of trouble.
When I train, I think about what an honor it would be to be considered one of the best in the United States and one of the best in the whole wide world. So when there comes a day when I am too sore to practice or want to skip practice and do something else, I think of how badly I want to wear the USA uniform and represent this great country.
I measure a good race based on if I did what I had trained to do, then by what place I finished. You always have to consider that there are times when others may grow, excel, or do better than you. That in no way should reflect how you feel about yourself. Just look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are doing your best and that should determine how you feel.