We recently had the opportunity to catch up with WNBA star Ruthie Bolton to learn about the importance of managing success AND adversity! She’s a great role model for healthy kids!
Ruthie Bolton is one of the most accomplished female athletes in the world. She is a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, a USA Basketball Female of the Year, theSports Illustrated Best Woman Athlete by home state, and one of only 4 players to be named to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
It may be surprising to learn that Ruthie was told “you can’t do it” before every major milestone of her athletic career. In college, she was told that she would not even play, but she remains in the Auburn University record books to this day, and she was the first Lady Tiger to have her number retired. In her 4 years at Auburn, Ruthie led her team to a combined record of 119-13, including three Southeastern Conference championships, four NCAA tournaments and two NCAA runner-up finishes.
After college, she was not even invited to try out for the U.S. National Team- a team which she later led to a Gold Medal in 1996. 2 years later, she was told she would never play basketball again due to a torn ACL, yet she re-claimed her spot on the National Team, and brought them to a second Gold Medal in 2000.
OWG: We love this quote from you, “If I am only remembered for being a basketball player, I believe that I will have failed in my job on this planet.” That is so powerful. What do you believe your ultimate job is?
Ruthie: I feel that my ultimate job is to use my STRUGGLES to help transform lives.
OWG: What would you say are your proudest accomplishments to date, inside and outside of athletics?
Ruthie: My proudest accomplishment on the court was after winning the gold medal in 1996. I went to the stand and hugged my father who had a picture of my mom who had passed on … I felt her spirit. It is a memory I will never forget.
OWG: You had to overcome some adversity in your athletic career. What would you tell young kids who are dealing with adversity in their own lives?
Ruthie: Adversity comes to make or break us. I feel that the best way to deal with Adversity is to EMBRACE IT and ENDURE IT (positive attitude and mind set), which will EMPOWER others as they watch you spread your wings and soar.
OWG: What organizations and initiatives are you passionate about and actively involved? What made you want to be a part of them?
Ruthie: I have a passion to give back in the community. I have a strong desire to be a DIFFERENCE MAKER. I have worked with the WNBA PLAY FIT, STAY FIT, which helps kids to realize the importance of health and nutrition. I am also a part of a youth program in Sacramento called the Daryl Roberts Family and Youth Development Center. I really like what they do for the kids, which is investing time to give them a solid foundation. I also have an AIM HIGH after school program focusing on buidling their character in terms of attitude, anger management, peer pressure and dealing with adversity.
OWG: You have a book out called “The Ride of a Lifetime.” What do you cover in this book and what messages do you want readers to take away?
Ruthie: I KNOW that ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ will empower youth to never quit but instead to strive to be the best they can be. They will embrace the importance of a positive mental attitude in their journey of life.