Three lesson I learned from winning Olympic Gold
Penny Heyns • TEDxJohannesburg
Penny Heyns is arguably the world greatest breaststroker of the 20th Century – she became the only woman in Olympic history to win both the 100m and 200m breaststroke events when she won in Atlanta 1996; she won bronze at Sydney 2000; and she broke 14 individual world records throughout her career. She is the only breaststroker, male or female, to have held world records in all 3 possible distances – the 50m, 100m, and 200m events. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2007, and became the first non-track and field female athlete to be inducted into the Africa Sports Hall of fame in 2012. Remarkably, in spite of these achievements, Penny grew up at a time in history when her home-country, South Africa, was politically isolated, and was not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. Unlike many of her competitors, she did not grow up with Olympic aspirations, at least not from a young age. So, why did she choose to swim? How did she navigate the opportunities that came her way? How did she know what choices to make? And what, if anything, did she learn from her astonishing achievements?