This week, the blogosphere is chock-full of words about the election results and the East Coast’s unfathomable woes. Instead of adding my two cents, this Permission Slips post will simply reiterate one of our core messages: give yourself a break.
I found inspiration Sunday morning listening to former Olympic skier Libby Ludlow speak of the challenges she faced, the lessons she learned and her mission to empower middle-school girls.
Ludlow’s main message—have compassion for yourself—clearly resounded with the mothers and daughters who gathered for The Lake Washington Chapter of the National Charity League (NCL) annual members’ tea.
Ludlow, who grew up in Bellevue, spent a decade on the U.S. Ski team as a downhill, SuperG and GS racer, and was part of the 2006 Olympic Ski Team.
She earned a degree from Dartmouth College, currently is a third-year law student at the University of Washington and recently founded ZGirls, a for-profit organization dedicated to empowering young girls, primarily competitive athletes, with confidence, courage and community.
Ludlow would have appreciated a resource such as ZGirls when she was competing.
Despite her extraordinary success on the World Cup circuit and in making the Olympic team, Ludlow faced a fair amount of adversity along the way. First and foremost is her diminutive size; she is on the shorter and lighter side, while the laws of physics dictate that a larger and heavier object will move more quickly down a slope.
Perhaps more significantly, Ludlow suffered four major knee injuries during her 10 years on the national team, two of which were within months of Olympics games. The second ACL tear kept her off the 2002 Olympic squad; a later injury, which hinted at a degenerative problem with her knee, came 10 months before the 2006 Games.
She fought back in 2005 and, against all odds, was in prime form for the Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Ludlow didn’t place as well as she had hoped in the Games – she was ranked tenth in the world, but came in 28th. The photographs in her power-point slide show demonstrate the disappointment she felt. However, looking back, Ludlow feels more positive about having attained her goal of competing in the Olympics, overcoming adversity to get there and learning important life lessons through the experience.
To read the entire blog post, which includes more of Ludlow’s message, click here. My friend and colleague Carol Gullstad and I take turns updating our Permission Slips blog each week.