Track Runners Who Inspire Track Fans

By Denise Turney

Track runners inspire track fans by refusing to quit in the face of great odds. For example, American track sprinter, Tyson Gay, didn’t make it to the Olympic finals in the 100 meters at the 2008 Olympics. During the four-by 100 meter relay, the men’s American relay team dropped the baton during his exchange. Yet, Tyson Gay didn’t quit. He underwent surgery to repair his hip, and hit the track again. Four years later, at the 2012 Olympics, Tyson Gay got his Olympic medal, and oddly, he got that medal in the four-by-100 meter relay. The fact that he made it to the Olympic finals after recovering from surgery is amazing all by itself.

More Track Runners Who Are Inspiring

Tyson Gay is just one of the track runners who’s inspiring track fans around the world, who’s showing people firsthand what focus, commitment, resilience and hard work can help achieve. Throughout history, track runners have overcome great odds to reach their goals. Wilma Rudolph, born with polio, was one of 22 children. She was also born prematurely. The sprinter from Tennessee who entered this physical world in 1940 appeared to have an uphill climb right from the start. It’s nothing short of a miracle that Wilma Rudolph went on to run at all, let alone win three gold medals and one bronze medal at the Olympics. As a member of Tennessee State University’s Tigerbelles, Wilma Rudolph raced her way into history. Italians nicknamed her “The Black Gazelle.” A stretch of highway in Clarksville, Tennessee is named after her. She was a woman who loved track and field until her passing in 1994. She earned her way into history books and inspired countless track fans and everyday folk along the way.

It’s hard to mention Wilma Rudolph without mentioning Jesse Owens. The two track sprinters may well be the greatest symbols of the sport in the minds of many track fans. Born James Cleveland Owens in Oakville, Alabama on September 12, 1913, Jesse Owens won four gold medals (no easy fete in track and field) at the 1936 Olympics. It would take more than 40 years before another track runner would win four gold medals at an Olympics; that happened in 1984 when Carl Lewis won four gold medals at the Olympics.

Jesse Owens’ wins uprooted Adolph Hitler’s statements about a master race. According to the Official Jesse Owens website, Jesse got his start in track and field while attending school in Cleveland, Ohio (my home state; had to put that in here). Perhaps more than the other track runners mentioned in this blog, it was Jesse Owens who had to race with courage, pride, dignity, passion, resilience and tenacity in ways the other track runners except for Wilma Rudolph (thankfully) have not had to. Jesse had to deal with racial discrimination before and after the Olympics. What he achieved and when he achieved it has set him apart. As with the other track runners mentioned here, Jesse Owens continues to inspire.

There are so many track runners whose exploits on the track and field inspire track fans as well as children, teens and adults who don’t run. To name a few, there’s Edwin Moses (unbeaten in the hurdles during his professional career; oh . . . he’s from Ohio too!), Evelyn Ashford, Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner Kersey, Michael Johnson, Usain Bolt and Jim Thorpe. These track athletes meet their personal and family responsibilities then go on to achieve excellence at their sport. They truly are inspiring.

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College Friendships that Last a Lifetime

By Denise Turney

Finding friends can be intimidating, especially during college. Yet, many of us are finding friends while exploring new communities and succeeding academically.

After all, college isn’t only a time when women and men meet, going on to date for years or marry. College is also a time when enriching friendships are formed. Some of these friendships change our lives forever.

Finding Friends in College

College friendships are similar to friendships we form with neighbors when we’re in kindergarten. We laugh and cry with these friends. After awhile, we build trust with these friends, trust that finds us sharing deep personal secrets with them. These are the people who pop into our minds when we’re reminiscing about sweet moments from our childhood.

Finding friends at college who engender this same trust in us is a sweet reward. If we’re at college right now, we probably text or call our friends before we head out for the weekend. They’re our study partners, the people we buy tickets to concerts and school sporting events with. Everybody who knows us on campus knows who our best friends are upon sight because we all spend so much time together. It’s almost like we’re brothers or sisters.

Let tough circumstances come into our lives, as they do with Raymond Clarke and his college friends, and we’ll put our heads together and try to figure a way out of the situation. If we’ve had our friends for years, we may never tell on each other. We might not even confront each other when one of us has clearly crossed a line.

Finding Friends at College, Friendships that Last a Lifetime

This can have positive and negative consequences. If we start protecting our college friends to the point where we start lying for them, we might find ourselves keeping deep secrets. On the other hand, our college friends can open us up to love and care in ways we hadn’t before experienced.

Choices we make as we continue finding friends in college can work like stepping stones as we head toward adulthood. Some of the choices we make will blend into the very fiber of all of our lives, becoming permanent bits of our personal histories. Years from now when our hair has started to gray, our college friends might be the people we call first when we’re putting together fun group events like barbecues and anniversaries.

After all, while finding friends at college, we have the chance to create rewarding relationships that last a lifetime. We might lean on and celebrate these friendships as we age. In fact, sometimes college friends, as they do in the new book, Love Pour Over Me, are meant to be in our lives . . . forever.

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How to Choose the Right Ebook Publishing Company

By Denise Turney

Technological products like computers, mobile devices and e-book readers make it possible for book buyers to download and start reading novels and nonfiction books with the click of a button. This convenience has seen e-book sales rise by as much as 117 percent for 2011 according to Publisher’s Weekly. It’s a growing market that authors and people with a story to share may want to get into. After all, publishing e-books can allow writers to receive benefits like royalties, media interview requests and fans. However, not all e-book publishing companies offer the same benefits, some e-book publishing companies even charging higher formatting costs than others.

Publishing e-books can turn you into a bestselling author within a matter of months.

Read Reviews

Search for e-book publishing company reviews and ranking reports. While reading reviews and ranking reports consider factors such as how long the company has been in business, the number of books the company publishes each year and the types of files the publisher accepts from authors to convert into e-book format.

Ask Published Authors

Contact authors who have already had digital books published and ask them for e-book publishing company recommendations. For example, you can email authors, tell them that you are considering publishing an e-book and ask them to tell you who they think are the top three e-book publishers to work with. Let authors know if your book has illustrations and/or charts and graphs as some e-book publishers may be more experienced at formatting books with illustrations, charts or graphs than others.


Ask the e-book publisher for a list of resellers they distribute books to. Types of resellers include, Google Books, Ingram Books and Barnes & Also find out if e-book publishers have distribution contracts with companies that service libraries as, generally, the more distribution channels a publisher has the more books you may sell. For example, Portia, a classic book about an African American defense attorney dealing with breast cancer, is available to libraries through distributors like Baker & Taylor.

E-Book Readers

Find out the different types of e-book readers the publishing company formats e-books to be read on. Kindle, Nook and Kobo are types of e-book readers. Also check to see if your e-book will be formatted and for sale in portable document format (PDF) format so book buyers who don’t have e-book readers can purchase, download your book to their computer or mobile device and read it off a PDF. Available through, Love Pour Over Me, can be read in each major electronic format. Keep in mind, that the more formats electronic books are available in, the more book buyers and readers you may gain.

Services Offered

Look for e-book publishers that offer a range of services, including cover design, marketing and copyediting. Although you may not choose to use all of these services as soon as you publish your e-book, you may want to use more of the services after your book has been on the market for a few weeks. In addition, you can save yourself money by finding out how much it cost to format your e-book before you sign a contract with an e-book publishing company. Compare prices and services offered at e-book publishing companies before you sign a publishing contract. Also be prepared to market your own books as an author.


Learn the percentage of royalties you will be paid on each book sold. For example, some e-book publishers may only deduct 15 percent off the sale of each book it sells direct to consumers, while other companies may deduct a larger percentage. Also, find out if you can sell your e-books on your own website or blog to increase sales.


Traditional print book publishers are starting to publish e-books. You may be able to sign a book deal with an established book publisher and get your book published in print and digital format. Also, remember to market and promote your book after it’s published by taking steps like writing and sending press releases about your e-book, scheduling radio interviews, creating accounts at social media networks and telling your social media account followers about your book and participating in book blog tours.

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Sources: (New York Times: Options for Self-Publishing Proliferate, Easing the Bar to Entry)–taylor-in-deal-with-smashwords.html (Publishers Weekly: Baker & Taylor in Deal with Smashwords) (Publishers Weekly: AAP Estimates, E-Book Sales Rose 117% in 2011 as Print Fell)

Famous Athletes Setting Good Examples

By Denise Turney

Last night I watched ESPN’s “30 for 30” sports documentary about professional athletes who go broke, many because they mismanaged their money. To say it was painful to watch the show is an understatement. It was absolutely hard to watch people who once had millions, some hundreds of millions of dollars, be deep in debt within 10 or fewer years after they retired from their sport. Watching the television documentary reminded me of the importance of being a good steward (manager) of what has been given to me. Watching the ESPN sports television documentary also reminded me of how quickly the high times can end.

Famous Athletes Learning from Their Mistakes

The ESPN sports television documentary made me think about examples of excess some famous athletes set. Professional athletes who appeared on the sports documentary where forthcoming. They didn’t appear to pull any punches. I appreciate that. It’s not easy to expose clay-feet-thinking in such a public way, especially considering the fact that we all have made mistakes. It was refreshing to see professional athletes who learned from their mistakes or who always managed their finances sensibly. Considering the fact that several of the professional athletes who went broke or filed bankruptcy gave others legal access to their finances and directed others to manage their money, I couldn’t help wondering if it should be a requirement for professional athletes to take accredited money management courses before signing sports contracts. This way, they might have the confidence to manage their own finances.

After the sports documentary, I thought about famous athletes who regularly set good examples, men and women who manage their money and their personal lives well, in ways that can yield years of reward. I thought about track runner, Jesse Owens, and how he handled himself both in and outside his sport. Memories of a former colleague sharing the story of her cousin, a man who played in major league baseball (MLB), who decided to step away from the sport after his wife and he added to their family. He wanted to spend more time with his wife and children. That’s a choice few famous athletes would likely make, but one this former professional baseball player never did regret.

Professional Athletes Who Are Real Champions

Then there’s Kai Greene, a professional bodybuilder, and a man who doesn’t promote excess, but who instead promotes inner vision, focus and using the strength of our minds. It was inspiring to see him commit to achieving his goal, winning Mr. Olympia, just two days after he took second place in the 2012 event. It’s refreshing to see professional athletes be secure in themselves and not need to make an appearance everywhere they go. It’s refreshing to see professional athletes truly (and I mean truly) put their children in front of the sport they compete in (not just in word or during interviews but in every day behind the scenes life from the time their children are born).

These professional athletes show that making it to the big leagues doesn’t mean you’ve become the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, someone with illusions of power. They show kids that, anyone with a dream, focus, commitment, drive, passion and talent can do what they have done. They encourage rather than discourage others to outperform them after they retire, not fearing that another athlete will eclipse their records. They root for the entire human race, not just themselves. They’re winners, real champions.

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