Friday, August 28, 2009

USANA Convention is the Best!

I am having a blast at USANA’s 2009 International Convention!!! This may be one of my favorite weeks of the year. All of us USANA crazy folks get together to learn and to have a lot of fun! Dr. Wentz spoke yesterday — what an amazingly brilliant scientist, leader and visionary.

Whenever I listen to him, I ask myself — why isn’t everyone taking USANA??? If you are considering USANA I highly recommend attending this event. The credibility is unbelievable!

World class scientists, world class athletes, world class Associates! As a passionate user of USANA products and as an Olympic athlete, I am thrilled at how we are growing and more and more people are discovering USANA! All athletes at every level should be on these products!

My role at convention was to speak and to host the athlete segment on the main stage. To see Derek Parra, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Werner Berger, 72-year-old climber, the oldest North American to climb the seven summits, talk about the difference USANA makes in their lives and their training, gives so much credibility to USANA!

And I am a walking product of the USANA products!

We had a blast on stage. Since not all of the USANA world class athletes could join us, we gave 750 flags to the audience to represent all the world class athletes out there taking USANA. 8,000 associates were on their feet cheering for our athletes! I also have been able to walk around and meet a lot of the new associates...I love their energy and enthusiasm!

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Exhilarating Experience at Indy Grand Prix

I had a fantastic experience in Sonoma as Grand Marshal of the Indy Grand Prix on Sunday. I must admit I was a bit nervous for my 10-second “Drivers start your engines!”

I got to the track around 10 a.m. for a tour of the garages, the pit, and a wonderful debriefing about Indy from Vision Racing. It was an incredible look behind the scenes! I got to sit in the Vision Racing car sponsored by William Rast. Wow, that seat is compact! No wonder the drivers are all so small and fit!

After the tour I had a press conference and a couple of interviews. Shortly after, they brought around a portable stage (on a semi truck) in front of the grandstands to introduce the drivers and special guests. It was quite a production!

After my introduction I shook all of the drivers' hands as they were introduced — very cool. It felt familiar to me as I watched the focus and relaxed intensity on each drivers face as he or she walked across the stage.

From there I rode with the drivers in a cable car around the track — a very Bay Area thing to do! We hopped off the car and I headed to the starting line to start the race. Nervous time!!!

With cameras in my face, I practiced “Drivers start your engines!” a couple of times while I waited and everyone around me was laughing and giving me pointers. (I later found out that all of the Grand Marshals have been nervous and have also practiced their line!)

After saying my line, it was an all out sprint to the “pace car” to lead the drivers on the first lap. Man was it fast!!! After the lap, it was time to relax and watch the race up in the owner’s suite. At the conclusion of a great race, I helped present the trophy to Dario Franchitti (below). Barely missed getting sprayed by champagne!!!

Steve Page, President of Infineon Raceway, and Jerry Wheeler, Infineon Events Manager, were fabulous to work with! I highly recommend seeing racing events at Infineon. Yes, I have become a racing fan.

With Olympic Champion skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

With NFL legends Marcus Allen and Ronnie Lott.

The grandstand — lots of spectators!

Getting ready for the start of the exciting!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It's Race Weekend!

I had a great time at the Grand Prix Salute party at the Andretti Winery located in one of the most beautiful settings on earth — Napa Valley.

The party was a fundraiser for local youth charities, including the Andretti Foundation. The Indy drivers were there along with 300 special guests. Part of my duties as Grand Marshal of the Indy Grand Prix in Sonoma was going to this event — twist my arm!

I was put on the spot during the dinner when Steve Page, President of Infineon Raceway, handed me the microphone after introducing me as Grand Marshal. He asked for a preview of what I was going to say to start the race on Sunday.

Protocol for Indy races is “Drivers start your engines” rather than “Gentlemen start your engines.” So I sort of surprised myself by saying I was thrilled to say “Drivers” not just “Gentlemen.”

After meeting Danica Patrick, I realized how monumental and groundbreaking her presence is. For me this is not about men or women, but about people fulfilling their passion and their dreams and being grateful for opportunities to be his or her best. Danica is showing people what is possible and I have tremendous respect for her.

Here's some information about the
Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, which takes place Sunday, August 23.
  • What: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
  • When: Aug. 21-23
  • TV: Versus, Sunday, Aug. 23, at 2 p.m. PT
  • 2008 Winner: Helio Castroneves
  • Web Site: Infineon Raceway

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Women's Professional Soccer

I was asked to do the celebrity coin toss before the final game of the FC Gold Pride in its inaugural year of the WPS (Women's Professional Soccer) league. I was honored to be chosen for the final game. I must admit, my coin tossing skills are not too good! I flipped the half-dollar coin and it went straight up and straight down! We had to do a second toss — apparently a first! :)

Tonya Antonucci (above), the Commissioner of the WPS, has done an outstanding job getting the league up and running, especially during such a tough economy.

The WNBA (now in its 12th season) has paved the way for women’s professional sports and it is great to see the expanse of possibility for women athletes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Visiting Vancouver

I had a great time in Vancouver with the Raptors for a kids clinic and a 3 on 3 tournament. I was with Jay Triano, the Raptors head coach. We worked with local youth and spoke to them about the importance of working hard and having a vision for success.

Jay was fabulous to work with! For someone with his success both as a player and as a coach to be so humble was outstanding. I have been to Vancouver a number of times, but have never had time to enjoy the stunning scenery. It has to be one of the most dramatic, beautiful cities in the world! I love the way the Mountains fall into the sea. Simply gorgeous!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Senior Games Invocation

I was honored to deliver the Invocation to the Athletes at the 2009 National Summer Senior Games. I must admit I was very nervous as I had never done an invocation before.

It had to be non-denominational and universal, so I chose to focus on the Olympic spirit as my theme. It was a very powerful experience for me to have such a huge responsibility — these Senior Games are very much like an Olympic Event and the “spirit” of the games was evident the second I walked into the arena and saw the 10,000 participants in attendance.

They have overcome so many obstacles to get to the Games! The organizing committee led by Anne Cribbs, Olympic Gold Medalist in 1960, incorporated Olympians throughout the event. Dick Fosbury, famous high jumper, carried the torch into the arena — I totally got chills!

I met Bruce Jenner and Steve Young in the green room prior to the event. They each had roles helping present to the athletes. It was a wonderful infusion of current and past great athletes and Olympians! I had a great time!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Carrying the Torch

I carried the torch for the last leg of the torch relay for the Summer National Senior Games. There are 10,000 senior athletes from around the world competing in the Games here at Stanford from now until August 15. I was honored to be chosen as the last runner to pass the torch to the two athletes to light the cauldron to officially begin the Games.

When I got the torch, I had a flood of emotion as I remembered my experience as an Olympian watching the torch enter the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta. Crowds were cheering for me as I held the torch high—I had to hold back tears... It was more exciting than I ever imagined!

I have so much respect for the athletes! I hope to be where they are as I get older. They are role models for what’s possible at any stage of life.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Inspiring Women Luncheon

I had the opportunity to meet Cokie Roberts, one of my role models, being honored at the Inspiring Women Luncheon in Chicago.

Cokie was extremely kind and genuine, and obviously brilliant. Her acceptance speech was one of the most compelling and well thought keynotes I have heard. She was able to weave in stories of women’s history making it relevant to where we are today.

We were able to speak for about 10 minutes prior to the luncheon. Somehow we ended up talking about what it means to be happy. And she taught me a valuable lesson. She said, “You know we talk about how to be happy, but that is a very privileged problem. Tell that to the person who is trying to have enough food, or is living in a war zone.”

I was amazed at how grounded she is. With all of her success, she remains compassionate and is committed to making the world a better place. It was a thrill to spend some time with her.

About Cokie Roberts
Cokie Roberts is a senior news analyst for NPR News, where she was the congressional correspondent for more than 10 years. In addition to her work for NPR, Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News, providing analysis for all network news programming.

From 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week. In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and was cited by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the fifty greatest women in the history of broadcasting.