Getting Up When Life Knocks You Down

Lasse Viren – 10,000 meters 1972 Munich Olympics

The 10,000 meter final of the 1972 Munich Olympics showcased one of the greatest running performances in Olympic history.

Everyone thought the battle would be between Dave Bedford of Great Britain and Emiels Puttemans of Belgium. Both of them had broken the Olympic record in their qualifying heats.

At the halfway point, Bedford was in the lead. ottomans was in forth place followed by Lasse Viren, a 23 year old Finnish policeman. Suddenly, Viren tripped and fell.

“I don’t know what caused the accident,” said Viren. “My only thought was to get up as quickly as possible. I was lucky not to get trampled by the others.”

Viren lost more than 50 yards because of his fall – half a football field. However, he was able to catch up to the lead runners quickly. Amazingly, he took over the lead to win the Gold Medal.

Viren’s heroic victory brought honor to Finland, who had not won a Gold Medal in 36 years.

Lasse Viren

How about you?

What do you do when life knocks you down? Do you wallow in self pity or do you bounce up and get back into the fight. Winners get right back up so they don’t lose their momentum. Next time life knocks you down decide to be like Lasse Viren and astound the world.


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez


Ruben’s Tips from a Recent Interview


Men’s Start Sigulda, Latvia

So Ruben… How does someone from hot and steamy Houston end up competing in the Winter Olympics in the luge?

When I was 21 I saw Scott Hamilton win the gold medal in figure skating at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. Hamilton is only 5 foot 1. I said to myself, If that little guy can do it I can too. I’ll be in the next Olympics. I was always very perseverant. I chose the luge cause I thought, “Looks like a lot of broken bones. There must be a lot of quitters. I just won’t quit.” I wrote Sports Illustrated to find out where the luge track was. They said, Lake Placid, NY. I went to Lake Placid and took up the sport. It was brutal. First 2 years I was crashing 4 out of 5 times. I broke a bunch of bones but I kept coming back. By the 3rd year I was crashing 1 out of a hundred times. Then I started competing internationally and I was able to make the Olympic qualification standard – top 50 in the world. I got to compete in four Olympics – Calgary, Albertville, Salt Lake City and Vancouver.


So… what’s it feel like to hurl yourself down an icy mountain at 90 MPH? Is it scary?

Brutal. You’re on the edge the whole time. I was so scared, I “white-knuckled” it for 25 years. You hit 95 MPH on some tracks. Pull up to 6 G forces in the curves. I don’t recommend it.

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40 Minute Podcast by Ruben

Yesterday I was interviewed for a British podcast. I usually don’t do radio interviews anymore but I had a feeling this would be a fun one so I accepted it. You can listen to the 40 minute show here. Enjoy!


Olympic Motivational Speaker Ruben Gonzalez


Ruben’s Reading List


Leaders are Readers

“The books you read and the people you associate with
will determine where you are in five years.”

Becoming an expert in any subject is a byproduct of years of study fueled by a passionate desire to learn everything about the subject.

I have always been driven to learn anything that could possibly give me an edge in sports and in business. The average American reads one book a year. It only takes reading a book a month to be in the top 5% of readers in the US. Every year since 1984, I have read at least a book a week. Most of the time I’m working on four or five books at a time.

On top of that, since 1984, I have listened to over 1000 audio programs on peak-performance and self improvement. I have attended over 100 seminars in the last ten years.


The following are some of my favorite books:

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