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Ruben Gonzalez

the Luge Man

Three Time Olympian        Peak-Performance Expert         Motivational  Speaker

 

 

Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez.

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Houston Business Journal

12/25/2003

 Athletes Shift from Playing Field to Business World

 

There comes a time in every athlete’s life when the tackling, dribbling or batting must end, so many professional athletes use their careers as a springboard into other fields.

Motivational speaker Ruben Gonzalez, of Theugeman.com, played soccer for Houston Baptist University , but he had always dreamed of becoming an Olympic athlete. At the age of 21, inspired after seeing Scott Hamilton win the figure skating Gold Medal in the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics, Gonzalez went for it.

“I was like a fruit that was ripe for picking,” he says. “I was at a point of my life where I was ready to do whatever it took to get the job done. I was kind of like Rudy (Notre Dame Rudy Ruettiger) Ready to pay the price of success.”

Gonzalez went to the library and reviewed the list of Olympic sports, settling on the luge, an ice racing sport by participants lying supine on their sleds. Then he wrote Sports Illustrated to learn where he could learn the dangerous sport.

This led him to Lake Placid , N.Y. , where he and a class of 14 learned to luge.

“My strength was perseverance. The reason I chose the luge was because I figured that if I found a tough sport, a sport with a lot of broke bones, there would surely be a lot of quitters and I could rise to the top because of  the attrition rate,” he says. “That was my strategy.”

Unable to find sponsors, Gonzalez raised his own funds by working as a copier salesman and boasts that he has been on every floor of every building in the Houston downtown area.

He competed in the 1988 Calgary , 1992 Albertville , and 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

“The average age of the athletes in the Olympic Village is 23. When I competed in Salt Lake City I was 39. Almost every day someone asked me if I was a coach!” he says.

Gonzalez began his career as a motivational speaker after a fifth-grade neighbor invited him to his school as a “show and tell” project. The response to his humorous Olympic stories led to speaking engagements at other schools and, two years later Gonzalez devotes himself full time to speaking to corporations, associations, businesses, and organizations all over the world.

The teachers at that first school I spoke for were so enthusiastic and encouraging about his passion and stage presence, that Gonzalez decided to quit his full time job and concentrate 100% on building his speaking business. “I knew that I needed to burn all the bridges and put myself in a position where I would be forced to do whatever it took to succeed,” he says. My wife, Cheryl, supported me and we both made huge sacrifices. I never could have done it without her support.”

Gonzalez agrees that having had played sports helps him grow his business. “Business and sports are similar in that there is competition and there is a score. The principles of success needed to win in sports, in business and in life are the same. Building a business is a release where I can unleash my competitive nature.”

Even though he was not a medal winner, Gonzalez says his hope is that through his keynote speeches, he can inspire others like Scott Hamilton inspired him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olympic Motivational Speaker

Ruben Gonzalez

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