“Faster, Higher, Stronger” August 8, 2008Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season.
Tags: 1956 Summer Olympics, claire b lang, claire b's dad, John Bennett, NASCAR, Olympic Games, Olympics, XM Radio
Hey Race fans! To kick off today’s blog I wanted to tell you something on a note that means a lot to me personally. Every kid feels that his or her dad is a champion – and that he is a super hero that can go longer, faster and farther than the dad of the other kids down the street. In my case this is true.
As the Olympics kick off today in Beijing – I’ll have a special feeling of pride in my heart for my dad who will be watching with special interest in what the Olympics stands for.
My father, John Bennett, earned a medal in the 1956 Olympics in the long jump. He is a two-time NCAA champion from Marquette University (graduation class of 1954), a National AAU champion, double winner in the Pan Am Games of 1954 and a Silver medallist in the Melbourne Games of 1956. Best jump of 26′ 3 7/8″ (8.01m).) Of course, if this is all that he had done in his life – he would already have accomplished achievements worthy of worldwide acclaim by many. To achieve at that level takes the ultimate in focus, and commitment to hard work and excellence. A God given gift doesn’t make an Olympian – it’s the training and desire to achieve at the highest level and the desire to put in the kind of hard work that makes some rise to the highest level of achievement.
But the Olympic medal is not all that John Bennett achieved in his lifetime. Far from it.
My first father died when I was three years old – and when John Bennett came back from the Olympics he met my mother, married her, adopted us three little girls (I was three years old) raised us as if we were his own (which we were)- and set out to become a world-class medal winning father. Together, my parents had a boy, Brian, who would carry on the Bennett name. If you ask why I carry the B. in Claire B. Lang it is in honor of the Bennett father who I was lucky to get – and a man who inspired me to work hard in life and to do things to the highest of my ability.
I never knew another dad and so to me John Bennett is my dad – and has been as long as I can remember. So, as I watch the opening ceremonies and see what pride the athletes have in representing their home country and in knowing that they are the best in the world I think of the pride I have in what my father accomplished on and off the track.
In life, it’s what do after you win the medal counts so much – and I think about the pride I have in what he accomplished and I also think of the influence he had on me and how I ended up in life.
I love the Olympics, I love watching them and at the very same time, back at home in Wisconsin, there’s a really cool guy who will be watching with special pride. I wanted to salute him today.
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