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Picabo: reach dreams with realistic goals

Jared Whitley Of the Record staff
Olympic medalist Picabo Street talks about motivation and goal-setting with Trailside Elementary School fifth-graders. Grayson West/Park Record
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Skiing legend and Parkite Picabo Street found time between trips to Europe and working with international media for fifth-graders at Trailside Elementary School on Thursday afternoon.

"Does anybody want to go to the Olympics?" she asked the kids, to which most shot their hands into the air.

She explained that reaching dreams, like getting to the Olympics is all about motivation.

"One of the things that happens when you have a dream that’s way out there is you need to formulate a plan to make your dreams come true," Street said.

Along the way, Street said, you form realistic goals so eventually the dream is just another goal.

"So the next thing you know, the Olympics are right there in front of you," Street said.

The two-time Olympic medal winner explained that she didn’t win her skiing awards by herself. Older siblings, teachers, parents, and others can help you reach your goal, she told the kids.

"The more you let them know what you want to do the more than can help you," she said. "As Americans, we have so many more choices than other children in the world."

People who sometimes seem like they’re "a little too tough on you" are there to help you, Street said. Her older brother was her "worst enemy and very best friend" for reaching her goals.

Sometimes kids feel they have to go to school, Street said, but in many countries, kids don’t even get to go to school.

"Some people don’t even get to choose what they eat for breakfast," she said.

Street took time to denounce teasing.

"Could you do me a huge favor? Promise me you’ll take one or two days out of the week to stop teasing," Street said. "If I ever catch one of you teasing somebody in my presence, I’m going to get on you."

Trailside fifth-grade teacher Sheri Johnson saw Street at Petco recently and approached her to give a motivational speech to fifth-graders.

"One of the big things we do in fifth-grade is motivate them to make good decisions," Johnson said. "They hold the key to their future."

Once kids get into middle school "you’re gonna go this way or that way," Johnson said.

Kids should stay in school, according to fifth-grader T.J. Maddux, "because then if they don’t, they won’t pretty much know anything when they’re 25."

Classmate David Munoz says school is important "so we can learn so we can get smart so when we grow up we will know what to do to keep ourselves alive."

Fiona Morrison said Street is "cool because she ski races and it’s fun to watch her because of how good she can be."

Katy Green ski races, so she’s a particularly big fan of Street. When Green is having a hard time out on the slopes, she asks herself the question "What would Picabo do?"

"I say, well, Picabo would just, she would either go in and warm up for a minutes or just keep skiing and get her neck gator out or her hand warmer," Green said.


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