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Gwen Olson Rhodes
[1982]

School: Jackson

Sports Played: Soccer, Basketball, Track and Field

High School Honors: 4-year letter winner in track & field; Qualified for hurdles at State 1980-82, was 1982 PIL champion 100-m and 300-m hurdles as a senior; holds the Jackson school record in both events. 1982 team won PIL championship. 3-year letter winner in soccer, 2nd team All-PIL as junior. 2-years of JV Basketball.

Post High School Career: Won the 2014 Oregon master women age 50-55 400-meter sprint in record time; 12th in the nation. Currently 18th in nation for the 100m, 2014. Played in women soccer leagues for the past 18 years. After many years at home raising kids; I have spent the last 13 years working for a small construction company. I wear many hats as the office manager, accounting and compliance manager for this growing business.

Commentary:

Participating in athletics has given me some of my life's best experiences and my life's enjoyments. I appreciate the opportunity to compete and the coaches that showed me the way.

Running the hurdles took consistent dedication and guts. Running came natural to me but hurdling took an aggressiveness that was not part of my personality. I worked hard, thanks to my coaches' encouragement, to make such a challenging event successful. I was pushed and I pushed myself to do something that was not easy for me. This lesson of triumph has built my confidence that I still reflect upon today.

I quit, for many reasons, playing basketball in high school. I regret quitting and I still feel the regret today. I have shared this feeling of regret with my three kids. They participated in track and have chosen not to give up on challenging experiences in their lives due to listening to my story. Disappointment, regret, defeat, failure are all part of sports which I have found to help with the reality of life.

Team mates are some of my closet friends. We have shared the experience of winning and losing. Fought and trained for a common goal and enjoyed the exercise and competition of a game. Working, playing and laughing together is the best way to make friends.

My husband and I share the love of track He also ran the hurdles in high school and college. We decided to get out of the bleachers and start running again in Master Track meets. In 2012 we ran in our first master track meet. We looked forward to 2013 but I was diagnosed with a rare breast cancer. After a year of hospitals and recovery I started to train again. This last spring I trained for the 100m and 400m races. In June I broke the 400m record in Oregon for women over 50 and next year I plan to run the hurdles again. I am having a blast being out on the track again.

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