Fueling Olympic Dreams: Meet Manny Huerta

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Posted on 31st May 2012 by admin in LivingFuelTV

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In less than two months, on July 27th, the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games begin. Every four years, nations send their top athletes to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals against the very best in the world on sport’s grandest stage. Each Olympiad, the compelling and emotional stories of Olympic athletes overcoming incredible obstacles to reach the pinnacle of their sport rivet viewers worldwide.

Today on LivingFuelTV, meet Manny Huerta, member of the United States men’s Olympic triathlon team. His other credentials include the Pan American Games silver medalist and the 2011 USA Triathlon Elite Athlete of the Year. Manny recently sat down with me for a series of fascinating interviews entitled Fueling Olympic Dreams. Manny’s sport of triathlon is one of endurance, strength and tenacity. How fitting that this also describes his amazing journey beginning as a young boy in communist Cuba to proudly wearing the bold USA letters across his chest this summer in London.

In today’s episode, learn how Manny fueled his dreams, trained to achieve them and persevered in the face of great odds. Join us by clicking on the graphic below.


Audio Transcription:

KC: Welcome to Living Fuel TV. I’m KC Craichy. Have you ever dreamed of accomplishing something as magnificent as the Olympics? Well, our guest today, Manny Huerta, welcome…

Manny: Thank you.

KC: …is one of the newest members of our U. S. Olympic team going to London this year. Congratulations, Manny. It really is awesome.

Manny: Thanks, KC.

KC: You just won in San Diego last weekend, and it was your Olympic distance triathlon.

Manny: Yes.

KC: The road to the top hasn’t quite been straight up, though, has it?

Manny: No. As an athlete, as a professional athlete, you go through many ups and downs, but if you stick to the plan, and you believe you can do it, and you have the right people supporting you, eventually you’ll make it.

KC: It’s interesting, you were telling me your story about Cuba, and your family immigrating to the U. S. from Cuba. With all of your talent and ability, it would not have been possible had you stayed in Cuba for you to be on the Olympic team, even for Cuba, would it?

Manny: That’s right. My family is political refugees. As a political refugee in a communist country, you are marked. Even if I had the same talent to represent Cuba, they would never have chosen me to go to the Olympics, just because they would have been afraid for me to defect. It’s great that we were able to move to the U. S., and now I’ll get to represent the U. S. at the Olympic games.

KC: Tell us about the sprint distance, the Olympic distance. How did you pick that as a sport?

Manny: I grew up as a swimmer when I was over there in Cuba. Once we moved here to the U. S., I swam and I ran in high school. I started doing the local triathlons, just like many people out there.

KC: Are you talking about sprint distance?

Manny: Yeah. I started doing the sprint distance in Key Biscayne, in Miami. Then, I started coming up here to the Clermont/Orlando area. I realized that throughout the years, by my freshman year in college, I became a better triathlete than a swimmer or runner itself. From there, it’s been everything I’ve done world championships, pan-American championships, national championships. Now, I can tell myself I’ve done the Olympic games. It’s fantastic, it’s great. I’m very happy, very excited, and I can’t wait.

KC: We’re going to talk more about how you do it specifically, but part of the interesting thing about you, Manny, we talked about the road to the top not being straight up, and you told me the story about how once you decided that you were going to do an Iron Man distance triathlon. Can you tell that story real quick?

Manny: Yes. In 2009 I went to China, I went to do the Iron Man over there. It was my first time doing an Iron Man. I was used to the Olympic distance races. I’m second, I led the swim, then I’m on my bike, I’m in second place, and myself and two more guys, we got lost. We went off course and we end up riding 215-220 miles on a bike…

KC: Versus, how many were you supposed to ride?

Manny: 180.

KC: [laughs]

Manny: And it was over 100 degrees there. So here I am, in the middle of China, in no-man’s land, I come into transition way back from where I was expecting, but I had the goal to finish. I was really focused on trying to finish. Fortunately, that day I ran five miles and then I walked six. My body told me, “Enough is enough.” I was planning on nine hours, and I was already over ten hours. The following morning, I woke up and I’m like, “I’m going to stick to the short course, but I’m going to be the best I can be in short course triathlon.” And here I am now. I can call myself an Olympian, and I never gave up. That was the message there. I never gave up on my dream. I just kept training, got better at it, and yes, now it’s great.

KC: There are a couple of great lessons there. You can be great at Olympic distance, and you can be mediocre as a triathlete at Iron Man distance. Part of the lesson is obviously never giving up, or you wouldn’t be where you’re at today, but the other part of the lesson is, find your groove.

Manny: Yes.

KC: What are you really great at, and work on that, right?

Manny: Yeah, definitely. I said, that’s the key. In our sport, we’re so lucky because we have so many things that you can accomplish within one sport. For me, it was the Olympic games. For others are the Iron Man in Hawaii. Then, even in the Olympic distance, you can go to world cups, and you can go to world championships, and you can to go to the Pan-American championships. There are many levels. It’s setting yourself with a realistic goal, either finishing your local sprint triathlon in Key Biscayne or in Clermont, or if you have a chance of going all the way, like myself, going to the Olympics, take a shot at it. Don’t be afraid. At the end of the day, be very happy about what you have accomplished and what you’ve been able to do. Not many people can go and do what we do. It’s very good for yourself to do that day in and day out.

KC: Also, staying humble like you’ve done yourself is great. Just keep working hard at it. We’re looking forward to getting into some more of the detail of how you accomplished it and what made you better and all that sort of thing in future shows. It’s great having you as a guest. God bless you.

Manny: Thank you.

KC: That’s awesome.

Manny: Thanks,

KC. KC: Hope you enjoyed it. Stay with us for future segments. God bless, bye- bye.


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