I wasn’t sure what I would have in common with Olympic gold medal champion Laura Wilkinson, besides the fact that she too, is an adoptive mother. She is a three time Olympian diver. She won the gold medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, making her the first American women to do so since 1964. She went on to win 2 more world titles, making her the first American women to win all 3 major titles in platform diving. She was envisioning gold medals hanging from her neck at 7 years old, while I never attempted to try out for any sport my entire life.
The fear of potentially not making the team trumped my desire to participate.
Laura retired from diving in 2008 to start her family. She and her husband Erick have 4 children, two of which they brought home from China and Ethiopia. Then in 2017, after almost 10 years of retirement, Laura, mother to 4 young children, began training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Laura knows how to face adversity.
Forget the fact that she didn’t start diving until she was 15. Ignore the high school diving teacher that told her she was “wasting space” on the team. Look past the broken foot in Sidney, the fractured wrist, the age coming out of retirement…
What I found as I prepared for our podcast conversation by reading Laura’s new book, Life at 10 Meters: Lessons from an Olympic Champion is that she and I are not all that different.
We share more than the common thread of raising adopted children.
We have both uncovered and embraced a truth that allows us to keep moving forward in spite of hardships and adversity. In our own ways we’ve both learned that challenge makes us stronger. It strengthens our ability to overcome and rise up every time we face something we think we may not be able to tackle.
And we’ve both learned that these lessons from life play a pivotal role in parenting kids from hard places. That, on days when the obstacles seem too great, we can face adversity and achieve amazing things.
Don’t miss this inspiring episode.