Zola Budd Rising Above Embarrassment

    October 8, 2013

Who says age is everything? Zola Budd, the famous 47-year-old athlete, has been as well known for a past Olympic mishap as she has for her recent success. Zola made headlines during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics due to her unfortunate collision with U.S. runner Mary Decker. Many still remember the embarrassing moment and use the event to promote perseverance in spite of failures.

Zola Budd did not use the event to withdraw from the sport she loves, but rather continued training. The following video shows Zola as a humble athlete devoted to her sport, her family, and her home of South Africa. In this video Zola speaks with Cape Talk’s Africa Melane on April 4, 2012, about her childhood growing up, love for South Africa, family, food cravings, and her career. She still proclaims that South Africa “will always be her home” even though she has spent several years in the United States.

Zola is a South African by birth; however, she was unable to compete as a South African in the Olympics due to an international boycott of the country during the time of her eligibility. Her father was able to oversee the process of Zola being granted British Citizenship, which allowed Zola to compete in the 1984 Olympics.

The following video shows Zola Budd running at the Crystal Palace on July 13,1984, before she tripped Mary Decker, which would later partially define her career.

Zola Budd moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and is now responsible for a running program aimed at elementary and middle school children. She recently shared her advice to other up-and-coming would-be runners.

“Running is just a part of your life, not your (whole) life. Whatever happens, it’s fine. Just go along with the flow. Take the bad runs with the good runs. Make an experience of it. Don’t be too goal-oriented,” Zola Budd said.

[Image Via YouTube]