Olympic medalist and Denton’s own Jordan Malone had three simple tips for Nelson Elementary School students to succeed like he has in life: Have dreams and goals, listen to those who want to help and work hard.
The mantra was repeated more than once as the speedskating star spoke at the school Friday afternoon.
“I never sit down and say everything I need to say,” Malone said after the presentation. “We have to make sure to tailor it to each audience. I try to give them a three bullet-point presentation, things they can really attach to and solidify what they have been told. It’s nothing they haven’t already been told, [but] when they hear it from me, maybe they will pay attention a little more.”
Malone was assisted by a half-dozen students who showed his speedskating gear to the students, drawing oohs and ahhs from the kids.
On the first point, Malone told the students that every goal starts out as a dream and becomes a goal when they start to go after it.
“It feels good to turn that dream or goal into a medal,” he said.
But he said that can apply to being the best student, the best athlete or just being the best son or daughter one can be.
The second point was encouraging the students to listen to people who want to help them, such as teachers, coaches or parents.
“There are special people who want to make you better in everything you do,” he said.
Malone told them, as he displayed his recent Sochi silver medal, that he did not get that medal or any of his other accomplishments on his own, that he had people helping him.
The third point was for the children to work hard.
“The only difference between me and the people who don’t have these [medals] is I worked so hard,” he said. “Whether it’s in school or it’s in sports, we have to remind ourselves, ‘I will work very hard to do that.’”
Malone said after his talk that he likes to get the children excited when he talks to them unlike when he goes to middle and high schools or corporations where his talks get a little deeper.
“I don’t know how long the kids carry it for, but if one kid is able to take a lesson I teach them and really drive it home and potentially do what I did, it’s all worth it,” Malone said.
His words sank in with 11-year-old D.J. Arkansas, who was one of Malone’s student helpers for the presentation at the school.
“It was awesome, a good experience. It was positive,” he said of Malone’s visit. “It’s what all my coaches have ever told me, work hard, dream big, those are kind of burned in my brain.”
D.J. said the message may be clearer coming from an Olympic champion.
“He’s a successful man; he has medals from the Olympics,” the student said. “When he says [the message], either he is lying and the teacher told him to say that or he’s telling the truth.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.