Inside the mind of a champion
Olympic gold medalist, author shares inspirational account of journey to the podium
SAN MARCOS, Texas – Will. Determination. Dedication. Endurance. These are all words often used to describe an Olympic athlete. For world champion and American high jump record-holder Charles Austin, his journey to a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games would require even more. A debilitating physical injuryand family struggles all threatened to hinder Austin’s chances for athletic achievement. Yet maintaining his mental focus and a strong determination, Austin was able to triumph over every setback he experienced in life.
Austin recounts his long and trying path to success in his new book, Head Games: Life’s Greatest Challenges (Turn Key Press, September 2007, ISBN 978-1-933538-98-3, $13.95), an autobiography exploring the mental and physical battles and victories he endured during his career as a professional high jumper. Austin lays out the 10-point plan that enabled him to achieve his life goals, which he encourages other young athletes to follow.
“I really want to reach young people with this story,” says Austin, who is the father of three boys, “especially those from similar rough backgrounds. I know for me, those years as a young teen were the most important in determining my path into a positive adult.”
Growing up without a father, he watched as his mother struggled to support their family and learned early on the importance of a strong work ethic. He took odd jobs throughout high school to help with finances and immersed himself in sports and school, eventually earning a college scholarship that would pave the way for his future.
Austin also faced obstacles in his career life. As a high jumper, he struggled with a torn tendon in his knee. The injury stirred questions about his abilities and strained his confidence, eventually costing him a medal at the 1992 Olympic Games and the eligibility to compete in the 1993 World Championships. Austin says facing these hardships did not deter his dreams, but only strengthened his desire to succeed.
“I learned to achieve desired outcomes by staying focused, believing in my ability, working hard, making the right choices and not relying on luck or someone else to do it for me,” says Austin. “I realized I was blessed with a physical ability and it was up to me to make the most of it.”