Cary Mullen: Olympic Hall of Fame
Travel west along the Trans Canada Highway. Just as you reach the top of the hill near Hwy #22, part of the Cowboy Trail, you become witness to the great horizontal plane of the Canadian prairies running smack up against a massive rock fortress – the Canadian Rockies. To most of our early European pioneers, the journey westward came to a halt right there, at the face of the mountain range running endlessly north and south: the line that could not be crossed.
To others, the mountains beckoned them onward. Evidence obtained on the lands now used by the Banff Springs Golf Course and the Juniper Hotel suggests that North American aboriginal people have lived in and travelled through these mountains for more than 11,000 years. Their stories, slowly emerging only now through the work of native and non-native anthropologists and historians, serve to inspire and challenge us 110 centuries later.
To this day, the mountains inspire peoples of every nation, inspiring them to dream and challenging them to action.
Cary Mullen is an excellent candidate to represent the dreamers who take action among the peaks of the Canadian Rockies. After overcoming three near-fatal crashes that left him with double vision and memory loss he recovered to earn the World Downhill Speed Record of 151 km/h (97 MPH) down the world’s most famous ski course in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Here’s part of his story.
I remember being 6 years old standing atop the mountain at Sunshine Village on Wawa and the run called Tin Can Alley. Alongside five other 6 year-old buddies with our little skis, poles, and goggles, we counted down, “Are you ready? 3-2-1 Go!” We skated off and got into our little tucks, over the rise, and down the pitch. Through a compression and off the jump, straight through the mogul patch, we’d cross our imaginary finish line, throwing our hands up in the air and exclaiming, “I win. I win the World Cup.” We dreamed that we were Ken Read, Steve Podborski, Phil and Steve Mahre, the heroes of the day.
We called that “day dreaming”. I’ve found since then that the mountains and nature have a wonderful way of helping us tap into our dreams and connect us with our passions.
We live in a winter wonderland. It’s cold and winters can be severe. What a joy to find outdoor recreation like skiing so you can savour winter. People all over the world have asked me where my favourite places to ski are, and I say,“Right here at home.” We’re blessed with the Rocky Mountains. I’ve skied in the Alps, the Andes, everywhere. We have incredible skiing in Alberta and British Columbia. And I think there’s a promising future for the ski industry. The world is getting faster and it’s full of ‘virtual’ life experiences and “reality TV”. There’s more and more of a need for people to get out and enjoy real nature – and there’s nothing more real than the mountains.
On my way to becoming a World Cup Champion, I experienced the upper echelon of success, and what it takes to climb out of the depths of adversity. I’ve had three near-fatal crashes that left me with double vision and memory loss, and I’ve gone from being a non-prodigy to learning what it takes to become a two-time Olympian and World Cup Champion. That’s why I believe that anyone can win – they just need the inspiration and help to learn how.
During my 20 years in a professional sport, I discovered that there are five Winning Secrets™ that all top performers use to win. As a professional motivational speaker, I now help others by sharing stories and showing them how to incorporate the secrets of training and ritual that may improve the results they can achieve in any area of their life.
I’ve lived a blessed life chasing one passion then another. For sure, there is part of me that wishes I would have won more World Cups, more medals. But, for me, there were two big things: I was able to win a World Cup, and I am able to retire saying, “Wow. I couldn’t have given anything more. I didn’t leave anything on the snow or in the locker room or weight room. I gave it everything I had.”
And I’m not too shy to proclaim what I have accomplished: I have become an Olympian, a World Cup champion, a multiple North American champion and a two-time US champion. I’ve been inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and my boot has been on display at the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. I was a leader of the Canadian National Ski Team for 11 years, and was awarded the title of Canadian Male Skier of the Year – twice. Looking back, was it worth it? All the blood, sweat, and tears, and three concussions? I thought about that a lot. And the answer is very simple: absolutely worth it all the way.
So where did I get the spirit and resolve to fulfill those day dreams of a 6-year old? Certainly from all the family and professional support I enjoyed throughout my entire life. I can’t help but think, though, that underneath it all, I was infused with the spirit of all those other mountain men and women who accepted the challenge of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
~By Cary Mullen
Olympian, World Cup Downhill Champion, Author & Oceanfront Resort Developer, Cary Mullen was recently recognized by Successful Meetings Magazine as one of the hottest speakers of the year. For live speaking engagements call 1-877-307-7403 or visit www.CaryMullen.com.
To rent his famous beachfront villa (on the right) visitCasaRubia.com, or view his amazing oceanfront resort atVivoResorts.com.