Thursday, October 30, 2008


A good friend of mine forwarded this quote to me the other day and I liked it so I figured I'd share it. Given the upcoming elections next week, I thought it was something you guys might like too.

"Rosa sat for Martin to walk; Martin walked so Obama could run; Obama is running so our kids can fly...."

I can't vote because I'm not a citizen of the US, but I'm with him in spirit:)

OBAMA '08!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008


So on Friday night last week, thanks to my boy Chris Spencer, I was invited to a special screening of an upcoming documentary by Chris Rock on black hair. I took my friend Brianna and my roommate Coen along with me. I had no idea what to expect but suffice to say, as is the case with most things Chris Rock is involved with, it was funny. It was however, informative too.

In spite of the fact that I have dealt with pretty much every hair issue there is, trust me on that one, his documentary brought quite a few things to light that I hadn't thought of in a while or that I never knew in the first place.

For instance, did you know that the way they get the Indian "human hair" for weaving is through a religious ritual called tonsuring? Women go in the millions to certain temples and have their heads completely shaven as as a sacrifice because hair is seen as a vanity. The temple then sells the hair and makes ridiculous amounts of money, second only to the amount of money the Vatican makes. They then wash and "debug" the hair and sew the wefts and sell them by the kilo to vendors, mostly in the US. Who knew all of that was involved?

He had me laughing when he had all these black men on there talking about how they are not allowed to touch their girl's hair 'cause they would get a beat down, lol!!!

Women were putting $1000 wigs on layaway. I didn't even know there was still layaway, let alone on hair,lol!

Mothers were perming their 2 and 3 year olds' hair, good grief...

Women were spending 4, 5, 6 hours at the hair salon - that's why I personally haven't been to get a perm since the 90s. Last time I went, that woman had me in her shop for 5 hours. I swore never again right then and there! I just go right on down to Rite Aid and buy me an Optimum Care perm kit and I'm done in 30 mins, thank you very much!

There was the whole go natural or not debate? Afros? Dreads?

Women were discussing the choice to get their hair wet or not to get it wet (ie. go swimming). Nia Long said choosing to get her hair wet with/for a guy was more intimate than having sex, lol!!!

All I can say is that you should make sure to watch this documentary when and wherever it comes out. You'll have a completely different appreciation for our hair and all that it entails...its complexities, its challenges and its beauty!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


No, I'm not referring to what probably first comes to your mind when I say driving while disoriented. I'm not talking about being intoxicated or anything of that nature.

Last week when I was at home, the athletes were given rental cars during our stay to get around. For the first several days, I refused to drive. Why, you might ask? Well the reason is pretty simple. In The Bahamas, we drive on the left hand side of the road and as a result of living in the US for quite some time now, this switching sides of the road can be an instant mind bender, to say the least!

Your brain is fighting you all the way, especially when it comes to making turns. Do I make a hard right? Do I a make a wide left? Then just to add insult to injury, most of the cars are also right hand drives, so the steering wheel is on the other side of the car. And then just to make sure you really get confused, the turn signal is on the right of the steering wheel and your windshield wipers are on your left hand side. Confused yet??? I can't tell you how many times I turned on the wipers when I was trying to make a turn!!

Trust me, every time I go home, I have to take a few days to get in sync with everything before I get on the road like a maniac and kill innocent bystanders, lol. This time was no different. You have completely different cues when you sit on the right. You have to judge the far left hood of your car in relation to the walls, people, the sidewalk, etc and some of our roads are extremely narrow. And why don't we have left on red? I'm still not sure I understand.

One last thing, unless you're from there, you'd never know this unwritten rule. Once the clock strikes midnight, you can pretty much ignore all the traffic lights. You're pretty much free to stop and go as you please!

Oh well, I managed to make it out unscathed although when I got back here to LA, I realized that my mind had already switched and I had to adjust all over again.

PS. OK mr. pitbull, maybe this little chihuahua, isn't the best driver in the world....I'll finally give you that:) But I bet you'd have trouble too...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm back in LA finally after what can only be described as a whirlwind!! Honestly, I think we fit more in one week than I normally would fit in a month. On Friday alone last week, I took four flights and was on four different islands in The Bahamas. Talk about island hopping. We wrote the book!!!

We got to go to Inagua, an island that was heavily hit by hurricane Ike and also to Cat Island, another island in the chain of 700 that encompass the entire country and one which I had never been to. In both places, we were treated to performances by the local school kids and they truly were the highlights of our trips.

On Saturday, we had more autograph signing at Robin Hood which is a Costco type place. That was followed by another luncheon and finally that night, the big awards banquet which the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt.Honourable Hubert Ingraham attended.

I would have to say one of the most memorable moments that night was when two of my teammates, Debbie Ferguson and Chandra Sturrup were awarded their respective gold and bronze medals from the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton. In light of the recent stripping of major medals from Marion Jones from all events during that period of time, both Debbie and Chandra were moved up one spot to their rightful places, Debbie from silver to gold in the 200m and Chandra from 4th to 3rd in the 100m.

It was really touching and our Prime Minister awarded them their medals ceremoniously on a makeshift podium replica and the National Anthem was played for Debbie. It in no way makes up for the moments in the spotlight that they were due at the time of competition but it was extremely moving and I have to say that my eyes welled up a little.

We ended the night on a high as we let our hair hang out literally at the infamous club Aura in the Atlantis hotel.

I'm not sure what time we left but suffice to say, a good time was had by all!

Now, guess what, it's time to get back to training. It's amazing just how fast times flies when you're having fun...

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Just wanted to do a mini photo only blog to give you an idea of what I've been up to. It has been EXTREMELY hectic to say the least!!

Entry way to the Atlantis Hotel lobby

My teammate Debbie Ferguson and her husband Adrian

Me and my teammates getting ready for a boat cruise

Me, 2007 high jump world champion Donald Thomas and Chandra Sturrup on the boat

At the Royal Bahamas Police Headquarters

Photo op with some high ranking police men and women

Luncheon at Government House with the Governor General

Some of the guys striking a pose outside the House

Picture of the ocean from the bus en route to a function in Grand Bahama

Me and my teammate, 2001 400m world champion Avard Moncur before dinner event in West End, Grand Bahama

School Rally

Some of the school kids

Picture in front of "the castle", the home of one of my teammates' grandfather.

Only two more days to go....

Monday, October 13, 2008

ON THE GO.....

So the past few days have been somewhat of a roller coaster. Right now as I type, I am at home in The Bahamas, on Paradise Island. I don’t know if any of you have ever been here before, but I’m staying at the Atlantis Hotel.

This hotel is world renowned for it’s grandeur and beauty and it’s casinos and restaurants and pretty much everything in between. This is the view from my room. Pretty nice!!!

I am down here for a week of celebrations and functions that my entire Olympic teammates and myself will be attending. Every year, the government flies us all home and we attend numerous events from church services, to breakfasts, luncheons, and dinners, schools, Government house, Parliament, parades and to some of the other family islands. Tonight we will be going on a boat cruise around the island. I’m sure it’s going to be loads of fun and I’m looking forward to it.

On Friday last week, I attended a function at my alma mater, Stanford University where all of Stanford’s Beijing Olympians were being honored. There were 48 current and former Stanford athletes who competed in Beijing! We won 25 medals, 8 of which were gold and represented 9 countries. That’s pretty impressive in my opinion! Anyway, so we had this event on Friday afternoon and I was one of the two athletes that they asked to speak. Ted Robinson, one of the NBC announcers during the Olympics was the host of the event.

I was rather surprised that I was asked because we had so many medalists, etc. Nevertheless, I took the privilege of speaking to heart and gave what apparently was one of the best speeches that I have to date and I’m just glad that I was able to touch so many people with my words and my experiences.

On Saturday night, I went to a “track party” back in LA. It was a lot of fun. Maurice Greene, former world record holder in the men’s 100m and current Dancing with the Stars contestant was there showing off some of his moves:) and I had fun hanging out with some new and old friends.

I was hurting in the morning though when it came time for me to catch my 6:30am flight here to Nassau. Suffice to say, I don’t even know when the plane took off because I was asleep before I sat in my seat.

Anyway, the next few days are going to be extremely hectic so I might not be able to do any updates. We’ll see I guess…..

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Take A Chance

There's a quote I read once and I liked it so much that I had it framed and it sits in a prominent place in my apartment where I can see it every day. Sometimes I think people, myself included, are too afraid to put themselves out there, to take risks, to let themselves be vulnerable every once in a while.

This whole blogging experience has been a huge risk because at the end of the day, there are no guarantees. I chose to title my blog "5th Time's The Charm", yet it has ended up being something of an unresolved issue for me personally. So I did compete in the Olympics for a fifth time, but it was certainly not "the charm" that I had envisioned for myself.

Yet, I was willing enough to put it out there, that that was my dream and my goal and even though things didn't turn out the way that I might have hoped, in some ways it has forced me to appreciate everything that I have encountered along the way. Not to evaluate my life solely in terms of achievements, trivial or monumental, important as they may be, but instead allowing myself to be fulfilled by the experiences that I've had, the friends that I've made and the challenges that I've overcome.

The ride continues to be outstanding and in some respects maybe "the charm" has been in the doing all along and my willingness to take a chance on myself and only now have I begun to fully acknowledge, understand and cherish that. So maybe it was a charm after all...

That being said, here's that quote:

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom
Only a person who risks is free.

--Anonymous Chicago Teacher

Monday, October 6, 2008


You know that saying "Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover", right? Well yesterday I had an experience that showed me just how true this can be. A good friend of mine, who I'll call Simeon (not his real name), called me up yesterday and asked me to come hang out with him for a couple hours. I had already come home from church and really had nothing planned so I said OK.

He told me were going to see a friend of his who owned a deli and that the guy was doing some refurbishing. So we drove over there and I met the guy who turned out to be in his late 30's I would say. He was clearly an intelligent man, black guy, fit looking, he had his 11yr old son with him and they had arrived in a pick up truck, albeit a nice one.

He had a French accent which was cool because I speak French and so we did a brief exchange in the language. Then he spoke to some of the workers who were inside the deli and switched smoothly over to Spanish and then back to English. Turns out he speaks five languages.

Anyway, so Simeon has known this guy for like 6yrs because the guy also owns a Mail Boxes etc. type business as well and Simeon rents a mailbox from him. So as he puts it, he only knew him and referred to him as the "stamp man", lol.

At some point, we ended up getting in the car to go to see this guy's "political advisor" over in Beverly Hills. I'm thinking, this guy is a blue collar guy, who owns a deli and mailbox place, what kind of advice could he possibly need and so I ask, "Why would you need a political advisor?"

He answers, "Because I'm running for the presidency of ...." Turns out this guy is about to run for and most likely will become President of a pretty well known country! I'm not saying the country name or anything because I'm not trying to put his business all out there. Not only that, he owns like 5 delis and 6 mail box stores and is a multi multi millionaire, lol!!!

I would've never guessed because even though he was clearly confident, he was quietly swagger and self promotion there. So much so, that Simeon kept saying "Man why didn't you tell me all these years that you're not just the stamp guy?" to which he just replied, "there was no need to".

So the next time, you see some guy in blue jeans, with dirty hands painting the walls of some local deli down the street, be careful how you judge him. He just might be a nation's President or a King or a CEO or something. Remember the movie Coming to America, lol?? It reminded me of that!

Friday, October 3, 2008


You know we all go through difficult times in our lives and every once in a while we think we're just never gonna make it whether that cause be family issues, heartbreak, finances, failure on the track or whatever the case might be. Somehow, some way though, you seem to always make it through though. You always make it through!!

My business partner and I currently have a client for whom we are changing her half bathroom downstairs to a full bathroom to accommodate her eldest son who is handicapped. He is 6 years old and he has to remain on a ventilator. In addition to having cerebral palsy, he has is both blind and deaf. You would think under these circumstances, his parents would be overwhelmed and distraught and feeling sorry for themselves and who wouldn't understand that, right?

To the contrary, I have to say, I have NEVER been more impressed, inspired and moved by the spirit and the heart that his parents display. Always upbeat, always smiling, always getting on with the business of life......

They have two younger sons, 4 and 3 years old and these boys are so happy and loving. Last night, their mother was saying she doesn't understand why Governor Palin makes such a big deal about having a baby with special needs and I couldn't understand why she was saying that. Then, she said when people ask her how can she be so courageous given her son's disabilities, she says, "I'm not courageous! I'm a mother. I don't get special bonus points for taking care of my child, regardless of his condition. That's my job!"

I thought about what she said and I have to tell you, I was even more impressed by her character and her genuineness because I had never thought about it like that. So the next time I wanna walk around feeling sorry for myself that I didn't jump far enough, or that I'm under the weather, or someone hurt my feelings, I'm gonna think of my client and just dust myself and keep on keeping on! I have SO much to be grateful for and I don't want to ever waste another moment worrying about the small stuff or even the big stuff. Life is just waaaay too short for that!