Olympic luger Ruben Gonzalez was recently the subject of a CNN.com profile that highlighted his incredible career both on and off the track.
Ruben Gonzalez, 47, made history in Vancouver by becoming the first person to compete in four Winter Olympics in four different decades.
It's a feat made even more remarkable considering that -- by his own admission -- Gonzalez is no natural athlete. In fact, he says he was terrified of the luge until two years ago.
His story is one of succeeding through willpower alone, and as a professional keynote speaker and author of books including "Becoming Unstoppable," Gonzalez says he wants to inspire others to be high achievers.
Born in Argentina, Gonzalez moved to the Unites States as a child. "When I was a kid I wanted to be in the Olympics, but I'm not a super athlete and I was always the last kid to get picked for sports so it was just a pipe dream," he told CNN.
After watching the 1984 Sarajevo games on TV, Gonzalez became determined to turn his Olympic dream into reality. All he had to do was find the right event.
“My strength is not athleticism, it's perseverance, so I thought I've got to find a sport with a lot of broken bones, a lot of crashes. Maybe there will be a lot of quitters and I just won't quit -- and that's why I picked the luge," he said.
He contacted the U.S. Luge Association and was told he should have started 10 years earlier. Undeterred, Gonzalez took up one of the world's most dangerous sports at the age of 21 and managed to qualify for the 1988 Calgary Games. But he says his success was more to do with courage than ability.
"No matter what your goal is, whether it's to become salesman of the year or to double your company's revenue, you need two types of courage -- the courage to get started and the courage to endure," he told CNN.
"For 20 years I didn't like the luge. My knuckles were white coming down the track I was so scared. But I did it in spite of the fear because that was my only chance to make my Olympic dream come true."
When it comes to being a high achiever, Gonzalez told CNN that changing your focus can change your performance.
He said his own breakthrough came when his coach told him he needed to stop focusing on speed and start looking at what needed to be done every section of every curve of the track.
Ruben Gonzalez is available to bring his unbelievable story to your next event. For info on booking him, please submit the "Check Availability" form at PremiereSpeakers.com/Ruben_Gonzalez.