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article imageOlympic gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley talks new venture Special

By Markos Papadatos     Feb 12, 2016 in Business
Olympic gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley chatted with Digital Journal about being CEO of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA.
On her new venture, she said, "It's an extreme honor to be chosen as the CEO of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA. I resonate with the mission to use sports as a tool for social change. For my whole life I felt that the gold medal I won in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games has been the gift that keeps on giving. I have benefited tremendously from my sports participation. The leader I have become today is a direct result of my participation in sports. It's my goal to help others win gold medals in life and career, which aligns with my future endeavors at the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA."
For 2016, her first order of business is to truly immerse herself and further understand the work already being done by the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation across the country. "I want to connect with our global organization and further learn how they are making a change in the lives of young people. I want to support them on spreading the message of the crucial role sport plays in child development. In the next six weeks, I'll bring together key stakeholders, board members and staff to develop a strategic plan for this year and beyond. We want to be in the position to lead the Sport for Development movement in the U.S. and continue to make a difference in many lives," she said.
On winning the 1984 Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter hurdles, she said, "Every time I think about that day, August 10, 1984, I get a smile on my face. Every time I watch a video, I hold my breath and I'm cheering for myself to win once again. I won by only four hundredths of a second, but it was the best four hundredths of a second that could have happened to me. It was a thrill, especially because it happened in the United States in front of my family, friends and of course, in front of a national audience that was there cheering for me and waving U.S. flags. After the 12.84 seconds it took me to complete the race and doing it in front of 89 thousand people and millions of others watching around the world, I knew I could achieve much bigger things in life. Winning an Olympic medal is a culmination moment for any athlete. Those 12.84 seconds have inspired me to continue to do great things."
Mosley is a firm believer that sports serve as a medium to help young people in under-resourced communities. "Sports can generate positive social, health and educational outcomes for youth in under-served communities. Laureus understands such impact and aims to help to make a change in a variety of ways: Sports as a way of improving the well-being and health of children; sports as a way to bring communities together and get them involved in supporting local teams; sports as a platform for teaching the skills that can lead to better jobs such as discipline, goal setting, and team work; sports as a way to help combat and reduce youth violence in communities; sports as a platform to include and give a chance for all; sports for gender equality, which is a topic very near and dear to my heart. I’ve been involved in that conversation for many years and know that girls who participated in sports are less likely to participate in risky behavior, less likely to get pregnant during teen years, more likely to graduate from high school. Over 90 percent of women executives have participated in sports when they were younger and that’s something we should be paying attention to. Sports in general can provide so many benefits in youth development. I see sports as a catalyst for great change - it can truly improve the lives of young people across the board," she elaborated.
The Sports Business Journal (SBJ) is the most renowned sports business publication in the country and it was an honor for Mosley to be among the women selected this past year. "I appreciate SBJ for presenting this to me, and for having such recognition available for women executives. As women, we're still struggling to gain traction, particularly with the sports leagues. There's still a lot of work to do, and by shining a spotlight on me and others, it shows there are many talented women in the space," she said.
When asked what motivates her each day, she said, "I'll go back to my goal, which is to help people win their own gold medals in life. That's what motivates me every day. I've decided to pursue a career in not for profit work for that very reason. As a former Chief of Sports Performance in the U.S. Track and Field, I helped athletes win gold medals during the 2012 London Olympic Games, but the gold medal doesn't need to be the shiny thing around your neck. It can be better health, better education, and better career opportunities. No matter what the goal is, I'm here to put my talents, experience and resources to help others improve their lives."
Her advice for aspiring athletes is that they should understand their personal best. "I have wonderful kids, a daughter who is 12, and a son who is 17 - they both participate in sports. My husband and I try to have them focus on personal goals. If their team loses or they lose an individual race or competition, but they’ve achieved the goal they set for themselves, they can still feel like a winner inside. Winning and losing is part of sports. But if you can find the smaller wins within every competition, that will help you and others stay motivated and keep going," she said.
For Mosley, success means "a full life." "I've been fortunate to have an incredible family, great parents, and a wonderful sister. My parents instilled in me and my sister that we have to be good people, good citizens, and they gave us the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. I do that now with my own family and that fulfills me. I’ve learned how to keep my priorities straight and how to balance life. Family is number one. Career is also very important to me and my happiness. It’s also crucial to devote time to nurture my friendships. Success for me is having this well-rounded life and balancing the best I can," she concluded.
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