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Achievement Curriculum: Module 1: Student Handout

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View the following video interview segments with three Olympic champions. How do they describe their Olympic experience? How do they describe their struggle to attain Olympic excellence?

Tenley Albright
Olympic Gold Medal Figure Skater

Creativity is a big part of it for me. I loved the music. In skating, you respond to the music, you forget yourself. When you are comfortable in your medium, you have a way of expressing your feelings. Then you are free to do your own choreography, and make up things. I was always kind of teased for some of the silly things I'd make up in skating, but that was what I really enjoyed: making up new jumps, new spins, making up a program. I even skated to "Barney the Bashful Bullfrog."

[ Interview ] Tenley Albright

When I was standing on the podium, outdoors in the mountains with the spotlights the night they gave out the Olympic gold medal, I could hardly believe it. I suddenly felt as if I knew everybody in the United States. I had such a feeling that it was my country, and felt as if I'd had such wonderful support from people who had written me.

[ Interview ] Tenley Albright

One of the most intense experiences that I had skating also occurred at the Olympics, and that was when, outdoors, in the middle of the championship, in the finals, when I was in the middle of my program, doing the free skating, in Italy, one part of my music was the Barcarole from Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach. The entire audience started humming my music. And it was just an overwhelming feeling of being close to everybody, whether you knew them or not. And it really spurred me on for the last tiring minute and a half of my program.

Scott Hamilton
Olympic Hall of Fame

The World Championships is a place for you to really compete and try to beat other skaters from other countries. At the Olympic Games you are representing the United States. It's a different whole. It's the same skaters, same judges, same size of ice, same music, same everything, same format, same, same, but the one thing that is different is: It's the Olympic Games, and you're sharing your successes and failures with everyone that's a U.S. citizen. And it's theirs, it belongs to them. So when I sit up on the podium and I get my medal and I get to hear my anthem and to see my flag raised, I'm the point person for millions and millions of people, that can for that moment in time just feel pride that one of their own did okay. And you feel like you have like 100 million parents and 100 million brothers and sisters and you share it.

[ Interview ] Scott Hamilton

If you can fall, get up and do the next triple jump, you've got guts. You've got real good intestinal fortitude. And, it's amazing. It's the same with anything that you do. If you go into a test and you just choke, I mean you look at the paper and the words are just jumbled and you can't figure out -- I know I studied for this, I know I know this stuff. If you can get past that and you can just calm down and slowly, you're feeling the same thing everybody else has felt. You know, if you fall, sometimes it hurts. Sometimes you twist something and you can't really get up right away. Sometimes you get stitches. Sometimes you fall and your pants rip and you're humiliated in front of a large group of people. I mean, anything can happen. You just have to accept that you cannot succeed unless you're willing to fail. And, you fail a lot.

[ Interview ] Scott Hamilton

Dorothy Hamill
Olympic Hall of Fame

Dorothy Hamill: I have always had self-doubt, still do. Fear of failure, not really. Didn't matter. I mean we all say this, but it's true. You know, you just want to go out and skate well. I just never wanted to embarrass myself. It didn't matter if I won or not. You hope that your best is better than everybody else's best. But, I was always out there competing against myself, because there were so many more skaters that were much more talented than I.

[ Interview ] Dorothy Hamill

Grades 4-6

History: Olympic Champions of the Past
Research Olympic champions of the past. Select one athlete from three different games. Create a plan for a three-page web site that features the importance of these athletes in the history of the games.

Art: Olympic Collage
On a large poster board or in a multimedia presentation create a visual collage that captures the physical challenge, achievement, and excitement of the Olympic Games.

Language Arts: Olympic Profile
Research an Olympic athlete in the 2002 Winter Games. Write a profile of this athlete. Imagine that your profile will be used as a TV or radio script to provide viewers with an inspirational introduction to this amazing athlete.

Physical Ed: Olympic Dreams
Research a sport/event in the winter or summer Olympics. Create a presentation that explains to your class what a young person would have to do if they wanted to excel in this sport and some day make it to the Olympics.

Grades 7-9

History: Olympic Timeline
Research the history of the Olympic Games from their beginning in Ancient Greece. Create a visual timeline that explains to others how the Games have developed over the centuries.

Art: Olympic Scenes
Research some of the locations where the Olympics have been held. Using art materials, photography, or computer graphics, create a visual scene that captures an Olympic event and the athletes competing in it.

Journalism: Olympic News
Research an upcoming Olympics or Olympic Games from the past. Select one and using your best journalistic reporting, create a newsletter that captures the highlights of the games.

Physical Ed: Training Profiles
Research an Olympic athlete and event. Create a chart that describes the training schedule and activities he or she follows to prepare for the games. Describe what role injuries and injury prevention play in the training plan.

Grades 9-12

History: The Greek Games
Research the Ancient Greek Games. Write an essay or develop a multimedia presentation that compares and contrasts the Games of today with the Olympic Games in ancient Greece.

Art: Olympic Image
The Olympic logo and the graphic images associated with each Olympic Games are things of pride and considerable creativity. Research these graphic elements including the characters and logos each city develops. Decide which one you believe to be the most effective and why. Imagine that the Olympic Games are coming to your area. Design graphic elements for the Olympic Games in your hometown.

Persuasive Writing: The Beijing Olympics
The Olympic Games are not without controversy and political ramifications. Research the issues surrounding the upcoming Olympic Games slotted for Beijing, China in 2008. What are the pros and cons of awarding the Olympic Games to China? Write a well-researched persuasive essay that presents your point of view.

Physical Ed: The Danger of Drug Enhancements
Athletes who use performance-enhancing drugs during Olympic competition are disqualified. Drug testing is an important issue at our modern Olympic Games. Research this controversial topic. Create a plan for a web site that explains what these drugs are and why they are dangerous and unacceptable for athletes.

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