Ruben Gonzalez

the Luge Man

Three Time Olympian        Award-Winning Speaker         Co-star of Movie Pass It On

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Private Clubs Magazine


Olympian Ruben Gonzalez shares positive message for making life an adventure.


By Dave Orman

Should you run into member Ruben Gonzalez at the Westlake Club, feel free to ask him “what’s new” — provided, that is, you have a half-hour or so for the answer. The short answer: Seems there’s always something new with the three-time Olympian (in the sport of luge) who is an author, a columnist, and a passionate motivational speaker. He’s also a media personality and the founder of, which inspires people to achieve more. Private Clubs recently caught up with the multifaceted Gonzalez — who this past summer even ventured into the movie business — to get his thoughts on a number of topics.

• On how he launched an Olympic career at age 21: “Scott Hamilton’s gold medal in 1984 inspired me. I thought if he can do it, I can too. I was always tenacious — there was a reason they called me ‘Bulldog’ in school. I just had to find the right sport. I learned that luge is so brutal that nine out of 10 people who begin training quit. That made me smile, because I knew I would not quit. I was hoping the guys with more talent than me would quit — and many did.”

• On how he became a motivational speaker: “After the Salt Lake Olympics, a youngster asked me to be his ‘show-and-tell’ at school. I agreed, but was quite surprised when the principal led me to an auditorium filled with 200 kids and asked me to speak for 45 minutes! Afterward, he said I should do this for a living. Three days later, I quit my job selling copiers in downtown Houston.”

• On what he’s learned from Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, and other high-powered motivational speakers he’s met: “Surprisingly, it’s nothing about speaking. It’s more about having integrity, being genuine, living what you teach.”

• On what they might have learned from him: “If anything, it’s a reminder of what happens when you speak from the heart with burning passion.”

• On his new movie, Pass It On, which had its debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is now on DVD: “The movie picks up where The Secret left off. That movie suggested that if you believe in something enough, it will fall into your lap. Greg Reid, a speaker friend, and I don’t believe that. You have to believe, but you also have to take action. So we interviewed successful CEOs, authors, philosophers, and athletes — I’m one of them — to show what it really takes to reach your goals.”

• On that kid who first asked him to speak: “He changed my life. Today, I’m spreading a little pixie dust around, letting people know they can succeed too.”

• On the value of long-range planning: “Having crystal clear goals helps your decision-making today. When I was a kid, I used to think about wanting my life to be filled with so many adventures that my grandkids would want to listen to the stories of my life. And I’d tell them that if I could make my life an adventure, so could they. If there’s a dream in your heart, it’s there for a reason. Of course, I tell everybody that.”

Dave Orman is a Los Angeles-based freelancer and a one-time high school shortstop who, like Ruben Gonzalez, doesn’t quit. In 1984, after dreaming about it for years, he attended the Olympics.