Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Olympian Rochelle Stevens pens book about her journey in track and field
Rochelle Stevens has been running most of her life – not from something or someone, but toward a goal that eventually materialized at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., where she won a goal medal in track and field and a silver medal in the same event at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
Add to that Stevens’ “drive to strive,” the challenges she faced while pursuing her Olympic dream, the perceptions about success in track and field, and you’ll get the entrepreneur and philanthropist who has written about her journey in a recently self-published book entitled “Travel the World by Foot.”
“I didn’t realize that my dream would take me all over the world,” said Stevens, who decided to write about her Olympic experience and travels to over 50 countries after returning from a Christian conference in San Diego, Calif., that was hosted by Michael Dean "Mike" Murdock, a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter, televangelist and pastor.
“I was motivated by his presentation,” said Stevens, who was compelled to capture her historic journey in print for posterity. “I felt that I needed to share my Olympic experience, knowledge and wisdom with young people who aspire to become athletes as well.”
On less than 100 pages under 15 chapters, Stevens rolls out her life story, which she juxtaposes with photos at the onset of her career, photos of the races she competed in, photos after she medaled, and photos of her community service. The book is essentially a documentary in words and photos.
“I wanted to share the challenges and perceptions and the pre-judgment that go along with it (being an Olympian),” Stevens said. “People automatically assume that sometimes you don’t have to work as hard to accomplish your goals.”
Nothing comes easy in life without working hard at it, added Stevens, who first blazed a path in track and field at Melrose High School, her alma mater, and then at Morgan State University while she was on a full track scholarship.
At Morgan State, Stevens earned a B.S. degree in telecommunications and sales and then went on to receive an M.S. degree in public relations from Columbus University. She is shy of finishing the requirements for a doctorate.
There is tidbit information in the book about each country Stevens has traveled and other information that some people may not be familiar with, such as the group she called her dream team, which consisted of her training partners, sports agent, weightlifting coach, and even the two women who manicured her nails.
Although a team was taut, someone was there at every turn to help prepare Stevens to cross the finish line. That someone was Beatrice Holloway, a.k.a “Coach Mom,” who had been a college track star.
“It’s important to have your own support team,” said Stevens. “It takes more than one person to help some dreams come true. You need to find that mentor or role model that you want to be like. And then you find people who have the same interest you have that can help you to pursue your dream.”
Stevens is a role model and mentor to many young, aspiring athletes looking for a pathway to success. Shortly after hanging up her running shoes, Stevens started hosting the Rochelle Stevens Invitation Track Meet. Twenty-six years later, more than 10,000 athletes put their best foot forward to impress college coaches, scouts and recruiters.
“Track and field has come a long way,” said Stevens, who cheered on the home team in track and field at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “Some of these people are running to break our records. They’re chasing after the dreams that we put in place.”
(For more information about “Travel the World by Foot,” email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.traeltheworldbyfoot.com)