One of the things I loved most about traveling to Italy was all the time I had to read and watch movies. I almost never have that kind of downtime (because I don’t create it) and, prior to being trapped on a plane for 9 hours one way to Italy, the last movie I had seen was either animated or on television.

As you can imagine, all of my magazines are about running, and I mostly enjoy reading the stories of the unknown athletes, those who have overcome ridiculous adversity or injuries to get to where they are. After reading some of those stories, jumping into a lake to start a triathlon doesn’t seem so earth shattering.

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I’m also super excited to start watching the summer Olympics! I love all the in-depth stories about the athletes and how they became the world champions they are. While on vacation I steered clear of all political news and read only the sports and Rio related headlines. Bliss.

Anywhoo, by the time I returned home, I had soaked up a ton of motivation from some very unlikely sources…

1. John Cena

Surprised? Don’t be.

This guy has been serious about healthy weight-lifting since he was in his teens. He made a career out of wrestling (wrestling!) after growing up being bullied in grammar school in Massachusetts and is smart, funny and doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, all while creating an empire.

Most recently he was interviewed by Men’s Health in a gym where the mission statement (that is written on the wall) reads “If you look and perform the same as you did a year ago and you’re ok with that, get the fuck out of this gym!” Well ok then.

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I was already a fan of his and then, my boys fell in love with his roll in a Scooby Doo wrestling movie. He does it all folks.

Lastly, on the plane, I really became a fan after watching the movie Sisters where he plays a drug dealer named Pazuzu. Hilarious.

 

 

2. Amelia Gapin, Marathon Runner, Women’s Running Magazine cover model and Transgender Woman

I did not recognize the woman on the cover the latest issue of Women’s Running but, I rarely do. What I do know is that the cover girl usually has an incredible story of inspiration and Amelia Gapin is no different.

What I loved most is that when asked to appear in the mag and on the cover, she responded with “really excited about it,” but added “I expect that I’ll get plenty of hate online directed at me. (It wouldn’t be my first rodeo with this; I can handle it.” I bet she can.

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What I can’t handle is the ignorance and hate against the gay, lesbian and transgender community that reached an excruciating limit with the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida this past weekend.

I applaud Women’s Running magazine for highlighting Amelia and her powerful story and to try and bring some knowledge and shed some light on a subject that needs all the positive attention it can get right now.

To get to know Amelia better, you can check out her blog: Entirely Amelia

Run on!

3. Kayla Harrison, United States Women’s Judo

As if it were not stunning enough that Harrison is the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in Judo (at the London games in 2012) but that she continued and excelled in the sport when her coach was sexually abusing her.

“As a 13-year-old prodigy in the sport, Harrison was taken to international tournaments by a coach who sexually abused her. According to Campbell Robertson of the New York Timesthat coach pleaded guilty to illicit sexual conduct in November 2007.”

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Of course she has a special place in my heart since she has trained with another amazing Judo champ, Ronda Rousey, and it’s been reported that Harrison has had offers from MMA.

I find her so inspiring because I cannot imagine the courage it takes for this woman to continue her career, competing at the Olympic level, and have the world know about her abuse. That kind of courage is stunning to me.

To read about 10 other inspiring Rio Olympians, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

 

Who inspires you lately?

How do you feel about transgender runners/athletes?

Will you watch the summer Olympics?

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