Balancing sports and school a must

But Olympian Michael Lambert encourages kids to pursue dreams

Dreams and balance.

That was the theme at the 25th annual Town Crier Athlete of the Year banquet June 15.

Olympic snowboarder Michael Lambert spoke to the young athletes representing 66 area high schools before the hardware was passed out at EDO Japanese Fine Dining.

During his speech Lambert spoke about the delicate balance between becoming an elite athlete and completing high school.

“When a kid has an Olympic dream, one of the first things they have to learn to do is balance the sport with their schoolwork,” he said. “You have to think about the fact that when you are done the sport you will need an education.”

When Lambert was going through high school he noticed he couldn’t be a regular teenager if he wanted to become an Olympic snowboarder. He started taking his sport more seriously, finding guidance and inspiration from his sister’s swimming coaches on the Junior National squad.

“She became close with her coaches as well as the family and they realized there wasn’t anyone in my life to help me take the sport a little more seriously than I was,” he said. “There was also a guy named Greg Wells and he was the first one who would sit me down and have a serious talk.

“That really helped straighten me out and check up on me. I was very fortunate to have him in my life.”

Support for amateur athletes comes from everywhere, including EDO owner Barry Chaim, who also coaches in the midtown community.

Leadership is a vital part of becoming a great athlete, Chaim said to the athletes.

“I think the first thing that makes a good leader is leaving their ego at the door and leaving their personal wants and needs outside the playing field,” he said. “They need to share what they think is important and their physical skills with other players who may not be as good as they are.”

Lambert reminded the students to relish in their high school days.

“I think the best thing about being a teenager is that you will just blindly follow their dreams, which is something people love in kids,” he said.

When Lambert stepped into the starting gate of the men’s parallel giant slalom at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, he realized his dream came true. He also recognized it wouldn’t have been a reality if it were not for the people who supported him.

“In a way, it is a very selfish pursuit going to the Olympics,” Lambert said. “It requires not only sacrifice from yourself, but so many other people in your life.

“When I got to the Olympics it just wasn’t about me it was about everyone who supported me throughout my journey,” he added. “It was very humbling for me because I realized just how many people it took to get me to that point.”

About this article:

By: Jim Humphrey
Posted: Jul 2 2010 2:20 pm
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto