In this week’s episode of the Red Shoes Living Podcast, Lonnie Mayne talks with former world record holder and Olympian, Willie Banks.
Willie talks with us about how to be a renaissance individual and leader. Every day starts with gratitude for Willie. His daily practice includes choosing positive words in all of his communication. He shares with us what it takes to go after a world record and personal best. Willie also lets us in on the five things that have helped him navigate the COVID pandemic.
For many years Willie has assisted cities bidding for international events like the Olympic Games. He has served as the Deputy Executive Director for the 1994 World Cup of soccer and the Director of Athlete Services for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Village. He is famous throughout the world and has represented his country in many ways. Taking note of Willie’s international popularity and outstanding personal character and leadership qualities, Time Magazine once dubbed him “The United States’ ambassador of track and field”.
Though Willie is a former world record holder and Olympian, much of his fame comes from his innovative approach to sports. Willie entertained the crowd and in response, the spectators rhythmically clapped while he ran down the runway for his jump. It became so popular that it set a tradition that is mimicked throughout the world to this day.
Willie is a leader. In 2019, Willie was elected to World Athletics, the international federation responsible for the sport of track and field (athletics). He currently also sits on the World Olympians Association Executive Committee. He is past-President of the US Olympians. He is a member of the Board of Directors for USA Track and Field, 1988 Olympic Team Captain, USATF Alumni President, and past chairman of the USATF Athletes Advisory Committee. While working on the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games the Martin Luther King, Jr. Women’s Association awarded Willie with their “Drum Major for Justice” award given to that individual who exemplifies a positive leadership image. During a critical time for US cycling, Willie raised funds to revitalize the Olympic Velodrome in Los Angeles and started the Southern California Velodrome Association which managed both the Olympic and San Diego velodromes.
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