It’s way more than getting a perfect 10 or doing a sky-high double layout for the coach and choreographer of the UCLA Gymnastics team, Valorie Kondos Field. The Greek American has been the head coach of the Bruins for 28 years.
But she has also been an inspiration to young women to find again the joy of competing that they had when they started gymnastics as kids. She has made it imaginable for them to share their joy with the world on a very huge stage.
Over the past 28 years, she has formed one of the best gymnastics teams in the U.S. Most importantly, one which is always setting new standards for beautiful and complex routines.
Becoming “Miss Val”
Valorie Kondos Field, also called “Miss Val”, grew up preparing to be a classical ballet dancer. Born into an artistic Greek American family, she breathed and lived dance. Valorie trained relentlessly and went on to perform as a professional ballerina with a number of ballet companies, such as the Washington, D.C. Ballet.
When UCLA needed a dance teacher for their gymnastics team, the 22-year-old professional dancer fit the bill impeccably. Also, coaching at UCLA gave her the opportunity to satisfy one of her personal goals. As she says on her website, officialmissval.com, “My dream was to go to UCLA, so when they flew me out for the interview and offered me a full scholarship in lieu of a salary, I thought I had hit the jackpot.”
But the strong-minded young dancer would put her learned discipline and respect into her career as a coach to become a living legend. She has led the UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team to win seven NCAA Championships, many Pac-10 and Pac-12 Championships, and numerous individual champion titles and academic honors.
Also, Miss Val has picked up some special awards herself. She was voted the national and conference coach of the year four times. In 2010, she became the 2nd active coach ever to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
The rest of the gymnasts don’t fare much better against her. Biles won the all-around titles at the Rio Olympics and the 2018 world championships both by just two points. As her friend and teammate Aly Raisman, who finished in second at the 2016 Games, famously stated: “If you get silver, you’re the best since Simone doesn’t count.”
She has no weaknesses
If it is believed that Simone Biles has a weakness (and in all honesty she doesn’t), it would be on the uneven bars. She frequently talked about how much she struggled and disliked participating in the event, and she has not won an Olympic or world medal on the apparatus. However, she has made a substantial effort to get better at the event during her comeback after her post-Olympic break. Good grief: now she is a true medal threat in that event as well.
She’s a vocal leader
Not only is Biles the greatest of all time, but she also has a winning personality. Known for her funny quips, charming social media presence and for speaking up on things that matter to her, she is nobody to mess with outside the gym as well.
A survivor of sexual abuse from former team doctor Larry Nassar, she has been a true advocate for her fellow survivors, and even wore a teal leotard in solidarity during nationals in 2018. She has spoken up on many occasions due to not being pleased with the leadership of USA Gymnastics, and it has resulted in real change.
Simone Biles was the runaway champion due to the fact that she’s better not just than any American, but any person on the globe. Any way you break it down, Biles is the greatest female gymnast of all time.
It most likely goes without saying that she is the greatest gymnast of all time. The 22-year-old possesses more titles than there is space to post. If you are keeping count, Biles has in per possession four world all-around titles and four Olympic gold medals. She has earned more world medals (25 to be exact) than anyone in history.
So, as you can tell, she’s very, very good.
And after her amazing performance at the 2019 nationals qualifier, the U.S. Classic, it appears as if 2019 and the time going up to the 2020 Olympics, is beginning to be just like the other winning years that Biles is known to be famous for. Another way to put it is that it will be more of the same.
But what precisely makes Simone Biles so good? Here are a few of the many, many ways she is so amazingly special:
She keeps pushing the boundaries of the sport
Biles is famous for her gravity-defying floor routines. Even though her skills are leaps and bounds ahead of her competition, she still is constantly trying to bring new elements to her already tricky repertoire.
She’s virtually unbeatable
There are winning streaks in sports. Then there is the Simone Biles’ winning streak. She has earned 19 straight all-around titles, going on for six years. In a sport where the normal senior best career usually lasts no more than one Olympic cycle, Biles’ dominance is typically the gymnastics equivalent to what the Chicago Bulls did in the 1990s. If Michael Jordan hadn’t left the team for a year and a half to play baseball.
And not only does Biles win, win, win, but she also towers above her competition and barely leaves her opponents even a chance to win gold.
An important (one of many) saying of the legendary University of Tennessee famous women’s basketball coach, Pat Summitt was “Right foot, left foot, breathe.” In her 38-year career at UT, Coach Summitt led the Lady Vols to 8 National Championships, 18 NCAA Final Fours, and 32 SEC Championships while having a 100% student-athlete graduation rate. When she retired in 2012, Pat Summitt was the winningest NCAA Basketball Coach in history among women and men and women.
These achievements led to the formation of a leadership model referred to as “The Definite Dozen” which highpoints what she feels are the values one must-have for success. According to Summitt, “The Definite Dozen is about being attentive to basics, those factors that enable you to satisfy a profound, bigger, and more significant goal.”
Respect others and yourself
Take full responsibility
Demonstrate and develop and loyalty
Try to be a great communicator
Learn how to control yourself so no one else needs to
Make hard work your passion
Don’t just work hard, work smart
Put the team before yourself
Let winning be your attitude
Be a competitor
Change is a must
Handle success like you handle failure
Quotes from the Summitt – created by the Pat Summitt Leadership Group, is filled with many pearls of Pat’s wisdom. These values can be used in all areas of life, regardless if it is the boardroom or the basketball court.
Here are a few more of Coach Summitt’s wise words:
Sometimes, saying nothing can be just as powerful.
You meet the same people on the way up that you will meet on the way down.
It’s crucial to be able to laugh at yourself.
Discover what you love to do.
Sadly, Pat Summitt died in 2016 after a long battle with early Alzheimer’s.
Every Patriot-hater out there have to feel lucky the Patriots haven’t changed their trio of Super Bowl rings into brass knuckles and made their haters eat their words.
The Patriots have three Super Bowl rings. In all honesty, they are on their way to another one.
There are 14 teams who have never, ever won a Super Bowl, including four that have never even been to the final. The Pats just keep going like it’s their yearly vacation. There is not one contender in the present or league history that can match the successful reign of the New England Patriots.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are like Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. They run the team like Phil and Kobe used to run L.A.
They are the most winning coach-QB duo, exceeding Dan Marino and Don Shula with 117 wins. Belichick comes up with the plans and Brady does them perfectly.
Brady and Belichick have a force field that flows throughout the team, making the team as competitive as they are. Coaches and players alike force their best just because of the intimidation the dynamic duo bring to the team.
18-0 Still Makes Perfect
In 2007, the New England Patriots went 18-0 before the Super Bowl. They may not have won the Super Bowl, but they had a perfect regular season none the less.
Though that record doesn’t mean anything without a ring to show for it, there is not a better example of a complete and superior team. The Pats has definitely secured its place in NFL history.
The Patriots are not seeking revenge against their opponents. They could care less about them. They want to keep their pride since a real Patriots fan understands that losing is not allowed.
They keep proving to all the doubting fans of the NFL that their throne is too high, and they can’t be touched.
But in the meantime, here are some reasons why the New England Patriots have earned the title of “Best Dynasty Ever.”
Most Disciplined Team
The Patriots are the titan champs that do a KO in the first round, leaving the ring in complete silence before even being stated the winner. And by the time the loser regains consciousness, the Pats are already planning termination of the next team.
There is no glamor glitz about football. It is a rough sport that is played by the fearless and tough. Bill Belichick realizes this, and he has executed it faithfully in his locker room.
His players are conditioned to be 100% focused on the game. There is no room for diva treatment or nonsense. Those antics don’t fly in Belichick’s world, and there is no compassion for those who don’t abide by his rules.
Best Drafting System
Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round and is a definite for the Hall of Fame. Who would have ever thought that was imaginable?
He has perfected the drafting system, but more significantly he understands precisely how to take advantage of free agency.
The drafting process the Pats use is centered on a number scale within various categories. Instead of matching college prospects to their success in the NCAA, they are matched to the players in the NFL and on the Patriots.
How do they match up to the pros? If the college player isn’t suitable enough to be a substitute for anyone on the team, he isn’t Patriots material.
Also, Belichick and his recruiting staff look for certain qualities in their prospects. Devotion, leadership, and maturity are big factors. The player has to possess these in order to compliment the Patriots’ style.
This month, I’d like to highlight little known black history facts about blacks in biking.
Bob Marley’s song Buffalo Soldier isn’t just a good sing-along song with a wonderful bridge-Woe! Yoe! Yo! It is a tune that tells a story about the 25th
Infantry United States Army Bicycle Corps. The theory is the name was given to them by Native Americans since their hair felt like a buffalo’s pelt. The name was loved by the soldiers since they were familiar with the buffalo’s fighting spirit and bravery.
The soldiers were one of the many segregated units of the U.S. Army. They were testing if bicycles could be used instead horses in the military. Their biggest trial came when they rode 1900 miles from Ft. Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. They averaged 56 miles a day and completed the journey in 34 days.
Vélocipede + Tricycle
In 1888, Mathew A. Cherry invented and got the patent for the vélocipede. The vélocipede was a metal seat with frame set on top of two or three wheels. This design was a huge improvement over early designs. The rider would move themselves along with their feet on the ground in a running or fast walking motion.
This design ultimately evolved into the tricycle and bicycle. In May 1888, Cherry got the patent for the tricycle. In the U.S., the tricycle is typically used by little children. However, in Africa and Asia, it’s used for transportation and commercial deliveries.
One of the things that makes biking a solid form of transportation is the ability to transport stuff. In 1899, Jerry Certain created the first bicycle parcel carriers, intended to carry items with a bike. Today, we call these parcel carriers panniers and they are crucial to many riders who use bicycles for travel and transportation.
These are just some facts about Black contributions to making bicycling accessible and better for all.
There are some significant warning signs. One is passing out or becoming dizzy during exercise. That can be a sign that your heart’s rhythm is out of whack enough to make you collapse but went back to normal fast enough to let you wake up.
Fainting as a result of a loud noise or being startled is a second red flag. The reasons for it aren’t really clear, but it’s a well-known occurrence in Long QT Syndrome.
Third is a family history of sudden cardiac death at a young age or of drowning. Many cardiac conditions can have you passing out during exercise, which may not be deadly in a marathon when you can stand back up after you recover. However, if you pass out in the water, you will drown.
See A Doctor
Even if none of these red flags are reason for pausing in your case, there still may be motives to see a doctor. If you have a family history of fainting, chest pain, cardiac irregularities, or heart disease, you should take a trip to see the doctor. That trip could result in getting your blood pressure checked or getting an electrocardiogram done which can detect some electrical issues with the heart.
Specialized tests are a heart ultrasound and an echocardiogram which can detect whether or not you have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and can also pick up ARVC.
And if you’re older and want to run your first marathon, you may want to get a stress test. People over 40 are more probable to having coronary artery disease. You’ll ride a stationary bike or run on a treadmill to measure your blood pressure and heart rate while you do an increasingly difficult level of exercise. You may also take a nuclear stress test that looks at the blood flow to your heart.
Of the more than 300,000 deaths that happen as a result of SCA (sudden cardiac arrest) every year, you might think that only older adults need to be concerned about this deadly condition. Think again. Sudden cardiac arrest is the top cause of death in young athletes. Most often, the death happens during competition or training.
What is SCA?
Also known as just cardiac arrest, sudden cardiac arrest happens quickly and usually without warning. Electrical issues in the heart creates a dangerously fast heart rate that disturbs blood flow. With pumping disturbed, the heart can’t pump blood to the body’s organs. Within seconds, a person loses consciousness and doesn’t have a pulse. If SCA isn’t treated ASAP, it can lead to death within minutes.
Fabrice Muamba, a professional soccer player in Britain, collapsed during a game after suffering cardiac arrest. He’s now up and walking. Another soccer player was not so lucky. He died a few days after suffering cardiac arrest during a match. Other professional soccer players around the globe have died in recent years from cardiac-related incidents. Not a year goes by without news of a marathoner who died in a race due to cardiac arrest. There are other athletes, even in high school, who have died from SCA.
A heart attack is a plumbing issue. An artery going to the heart becomes blocked, typically from cholesterol build-up and the part of the heart muscle that is fed by that artery becomes destroyed.
Cardiac arrest is an electrical issue. The natural rhythm of the heart that makes every heart beat that you have either just entirely stops and is electrically silent, or it get so erratic and fast that your heart muscle just can’t keep up with all the electrical signals, So, it just quivers and shakes. It can’t produce any pumping output.
Professional athletes have been a big fixture in this country’s culture for a while. Americans both young and old, have no issue identifying one or two favorite athletes that have caught their attention and admiration.
There is also lots of debate on whether we should make athletes role models and try to mimic their behaviors as a roadmap for our own lives. Children, particularly those playing sports, are very impressionable to these stars as they learn themselves how to contribute to a team.
Athletes as Role Models – Good Idea!
Professional athletes have a good opportunity to use their celebrity power and success to bring about positive change in society. Some of them know how to use their habits and qualities to inspire high moral values in their fans. Here are some examples of positive social changes:
Athletes are the ideal messengers to showcase the advantages of demanding exercise and how it keeps you on the top of your game. Professional athletes get their fame by improving their resilience, stamina, and endurance. None of these skills are conceivable without consistent exercise and strength building to endure the physical demands of their sport.
Professional athletes can also influence more kids to engage in physical activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 18% of kids between 6-11 years old are overweight. Being obese leads to health issues like diabetes and heart problems even in children. By watching their favorite athletes, kids may be encouraged to go outside and shoot baskets, run around the local park, or ride a bike to be active.
Accomplished athletes signify a sense of confidence in themselves and their teammates. Athletes will use confidence as a tool to outwit the opposition. That’s why athletes are perfect role models since they can teach you how to believe in yourself and those on your team.