Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Florida Blog Con


At the 2017 Florida Blog Con, "Rowdy" Gaines was the key note speaker. Ambrose "Rowdy" Gaines, was an American former competitive swimmer, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is locally born being from Winter Haven Florida.

His talk about how every moment of his training led up to a single defining moment in his life. From 1978 to 1984, Gaines set ten world records. He was considered a favorite to win multiple gold medals at the 1980 Olympics. At the time he was the world record holder in the 100-metre and 200-metre freestyles. That moment to shine however slipped through his hands when the United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics. “I felt physically at my peak in 1980—and mentally up, too. It was tough, really tough. I had the chance for four golds.” To cap off his story, he handed off a gold metal and had it passed around the audience. I can say that is the only time in my life that I have held a gold metal.

In August 1991, Gaines was temporarily paralyzed with Guillain–BarrĂ© syndrome, which is is a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system. After a two-month hospitalization, he experienced a surprising full recovery attributed largely to his superb physical condition as a competitive swimmer. He eventually regained world-class times and, at the age of 35, became the oldest swimmer to qualify for the trials for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Ultimately, he chose not to compete in the trials for the 1996 Olympics but instead continued his career as a television commentator, covering swimming for NBC at the Games.

It was an inspiring story of perseverance and finding new directions and goals through the various stages of life. My own life is going trough seismic shifts and I am desperate to find full time work to make ends meet here in Orlando. Hopefully hard work and perseverance will someday pay off. The ship never comes to harbor, you have to swim out to it. Opportunities abound if you just keep swimming.

The 2019 Florida Blog Con will be on September 7at Full Sail University. Tickets are $50 - $70.


Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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