How you can earn a Gold medal, even though the Olympic Games are over

The Olympic Games in London were inspiring, thrilling, dazzling.

How exciting it was to watch the best runners, gymnasts, cyclists, swimmers, and other athletes in the world compete for a medal.  And that thrilling moment when the top three in an event stepped on the podium to accept their medals.

A Bronze medal for the third-place winner, a Silver for second- place. And, as the national anthem of the first-place winner played, he or she came forward to accept a Gold medal.

You too can earn a Gold medal

It’s exciting to think of, but not impossible. You can earn a Bronze and a Silver and a Gold medal by participating in the Presidents Challenge physical activity program at

True, there won’t be any wildly cheering crowds, no stirring national anthem in the background, no one to hand you your medal. But you can commit to go for the Gold and then work for it day-after-day, month-after-month, year-after-year.

And by the time you earn it, you’ll be healthier and stronger (and probably thinner). You’ll have cut your risk of a heart attack or a stroke or of getting Type II diabetes. If you have Type II diabetes (as I do), you’ll help prevent long-term damage to your eyes, kidneys, feet, and legs.

How I earned not one, but two, gold medals

I earned them by participating in the President’s Challenge. And they don’t call it a Challenge for nothing. It wasn’t always easy.

For one thing, I was living in Seattle, and the weather was a factor. No, not rain. Snow—lots of snow in a hilly city which seldom gets any. Snow which turned to ice and made even walking treacherous.

I kept at it though—sometimes using a mini trampoline indoors. I piled up points by doing various exercises and logging them on the President’s Challenge website.

I earned a Bronze, a Silver, and finally, a total of 80,000 points for Gold Medal Number One. And I was as excited as a little kid when a FedEx truck stopped in front of my house one day to deliver my Gold medal.

Then I had to do it over

My excitement turned to dismay, though, when I learned that I’d only just begun the President’s Challenge. After the Gold was a Platinum medal which would require earning 340,00 more points.

And that wasn’t all. The Challenge got still more challenging. They pushed the goal posts way back.

Now I needed twice as many points for a Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum medal. (Actually, I had enough for the Bronze and Silver but needed to re-earn a Gold medal.)

Gold Medal Number Two

After moving from Seattle to Maryland in the middle of record-breaking snow storms in the east, I got back with the program.

Erratically at first and then enthusiastically, I began walking along Chesapeake Bay, enjoying watching the graceful black vultures, great blue herons, and even brown pelicans.

My persistence paid off. I’ve earned my second Gold medal, and now—back in Seattle—I’m going for the Platinum. If I rack up another 822,000-plus points, the Platinum medal is mine.

If I don’t pick up the pace, I figure it will take about nine years. So I definitely need a plan.

How about you? What’s your favorite physical activity? Do you do it regularly? Do you exercise indoors or outdoors or does it depend on the weather? How do you stay motivated to exercise? Do you have any suggestions for more intense exercise I could try? I’d love to get your comments or suggestions.

photo by jp_photo_online

2 comments… add one
  • Beth 08/28/2012, 5:11 am

    I love to walk. I walk fast and there are hills near my home so I get my heart rate up very quickly. Sometimes I just listen to the birds and sometimes I wear my Ipod. It gives me time to think and reflect as well as make my body move, which is the best defense against aging that there is. Beth@Boomer Highway

    • Madeleine Kolb 08/28/2012, 11:08 am

      I feel the same way. I love walking (or running) outdoors. The health benefits ate terrific, it’s free, and you can do it alone or with a friend. I feel fortunate to live near a long scenic trail which is great for walking, running, and bike riding.


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