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Lori-Ann Muenzer

Olympic Gold Medalist in Cycling at the age of 38

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Lori-Ann Muenzer: Olympic Gold Medalist in Cycling at the age of 38

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A race or journey to success is made up of a series of defining moments. Every moment and how Lori-Ann chose to use them allowed her vision of success to become her reality. How she handled the challenges helped her build momentum – not the kind powered by her pedals, but by her determination. By maintaining focus and commitment and reacting in a positive way, she leveraged those moments and used them to build her success and achieve what everyone else thought was beyond her reach: Olympic Gold!

Now as an International Corporate Motivational Speaker, author and business woman, Lori-Ann Muenzer helps organizations and individuals Get On Track by identifying and building on their own defining moments. By focusing on a vision and then developing and implementing a plan to achieve it, Lori-Ann inspires organizations and individuals to build the momentum that allows them to manage, achieve and leverage their successes so they to can power forward and realize their own victories.

Lori-Ann’s story is proof that if you stay committed, determined and focused, the solutions will come. Sometimes the solutions present themselves from the most unlikely places, other times you have to go out and take responsibility to create the solutions yourself. Yet, where they come from is often not as important as whether or not you are ready to see and accept them. It is about not wavering from your belief and staying committed to your goal. No matter what your goal, it's all up to you."

Experience the Journey: Meet the Woman Behind the Medal and the Story She Shares
The smog veil lifts to reveal the green hills of the countryside surrounding the Olympic Village in Athens, Greece. It's August 2004 and track cyclist Lori-Ann Muenzer is on the hunt for gold. Standing five feet, ten inches tall, her muscular frame and powerful legs seem poured into her bright blue skin suit emblazoned with a red maple leaf and CANADA written along her lean torso. She performs each integral component of her pre-race ritual: left shoe on first, right on next, helmet last.

The mirrored sunglasses give Lori-Ann's game face an intimidating edge, shielding her eyes from her opponent. She slides on her white racing gloves: left first, right next. She is strong, streamlined, and aerodynamic. She is also 38 years old and about to do battle against a Russian cyclist almost half her age.

Lori-Ann climbs on her track bike. It's different from a road or mountain bike: it has One Gear and No Brakes. She and her bike become one, both metaphorically and physically, since her feet are locked and double strapped into her pedals. She gets wheeled onto the high banked oval velodrome track. It's show time!

The race begins slowly but the intensity builds fast. Lori-Ann's eyes dart back and forth - over her shoulder, then to the track ahead. She is stalked by her Russian opponent, Tamilla Abasova. She starts to pick up speed. If there are any twinges of pain from past war wounds (the broken collarbone from a crash in Cuba in '94, the tendonitis in her knees, or the back injury from the mountain biking accident in '99), Lori-Ann feels none of it. Six thousand people cheer thunderously in the velodrome, she hears none of it. She has fully entered The Performance Zone.

Her eyes continue sweeping; her legs pumping and the adrenaline is coursing through her body. Abasova attempts to overtake, but Lori-Ann accelerates and keeps an iron clad grip on the lead. Desperate to close the gap, Abasova moves up to pass, but then tucks back in behind. They rocket into the banking, daring gravity - then defying it.

Lori-Ann hears the bell signalling the final lap. She's heard it thousands of times before, but this time it's different. She heeds her natural instinct and powers out of her seat! Her legs erupt with a blast of extra strength, tapping into a reserve of energy and determination that's been building inside her over the past 20 years - to be released at this very moment. Abasova's final push to turn it on is in vain. She is no match for destiny. Crossing the finish line Lori-Ann pumps her fist into the air, shocking a nation, shocking the world, but not herself. She has done it! It's Gold! Olympic Gold!

With the Canadian flag fluttering from her clenched fist, Lori-Ann takes her victory laps around the velodrome. As she stands atop the podium listening to Oh! Canada, and revels in the weight of the gold medal hanging around her neck, she takes her place in history: the first Canadian to win Olympic cycling gold, and second oldest Canadian to win Olympic Gold in any event.

Lori-Ann Muenzer achieved her dream and amazed the world.

"I had a dream, a vision" she says. "I knew what the movie looked like in my head and I had to get it out!"

Ten months earlier, Lori-Ann Muenzer grabbed a sheet of yellow paper. She chose yellow because it's the colour of gold, first place, and excellence. She wrote down the date, "October 28, 2003," and beneath it wrote "Win Olympic Gold." Next she wrote down the specific steps she needed to take to achieve her goal. She stuck it to the back of her bedroom door and read it out loud like a mantra, every night before bed and every morning on waking. Saying it helped her believe it when she was tired and overwhelmed.

Her age and history of injuries weren't the only things making Lori-Ann Muenzer an Olympic long shot. Her moniker "Underdog" brought along some friends: "Under-Funded" and "Under-Supported." Working full-time, training full-time and trying to find cash was her biggest challenges. She was using her own money to cover travel expenses, training camps, and equipment.

After successfully managing to get her bike and racing gear to Athens on a shoestring budget, Lori-Ann arrived broke, but focused; emotionally exhausted, but physically strong and determined. Then, literally, the wheels came off!

Lori-Ann's tight budget allowed for only a single set of racing wheels. The test of her resolve and belief came with casualty number one: the front tire. It blew apart in the pit, likely because of the heat. The test of her will and focus arrived with casualty number two: the rear tire. It exploded as she careened off the banking at 55 km/hr, warming up for her Semi Final heat! Word travelled fast between the athletes and pit crews and in the true spirit of sportsmanship, France and Australia each produced a new wheel that would keep Lori-Ann in the race!

"This is proof that if you stay committed, determined and focused, the solutions will come," Lori-Ann maintains. "Sometimes the solutions present themselves from the most unlikely places, other times you have to go out and take responsibility to create the solutions yourself. Yet, where they come from is often not as important as whether or not you are ready to see and accept them. It is about not wavering from your belief and staying committed to your goal. I don't believe I am exceptionally gifted physically. It's my determination, commitment, focus and belief that made the difference. No matter what your goal, it's all up to you."

"As the organizer, I appreciated the approach that Lori-Ann took with respect to our event. She made us all feel that she was truly there for us at our event and fast become a member of the team. Lori-Ann demonstrated her professionalism by spending time with the organizing team prior to the event to personalize her presentation to our organization and offer suggestions to the set-up to maximize her performance. She gave her time and complete focus to everyone and in the end made us all feel as if we were the ones who were the celebrities!"
Penny Blakely, Regional Research & Planning Co-ordinator, Employment & Immigration

"As an organizing committee we were looking for a speaker to present a topic that would fit well with our conference theme – “The Opportunities and Challenges of Change”. Lori-Ann’s inspirational keynote Good to Gold: Achieving a Gold Medal Mind was a great fit for our conference, particularly as she touched on overcoming and persevering in the face of adversity. With all of the positive feedback we have received following this event, I would highly recommend Lori-Ann to any organization seeking a speaker."
Kirk Strachan, Group Leader & 2008 ATCO Conference Organizing Committee Chair, ATCO Pipelines

"Lori-Ann’s story of her gold medal win was truly inspirational. She encouraged conference participants to build the momentum that allows them to manage, achieve and leverage their successes so they overcome challenges and realize their own victories. The feedback from conference participants was fantastic. The participants felt that Lori-Ann’s presentation related to the challenges they face daily and how perseverance & determination would help them build success. I would recommend Lori-Ann Muenzer to any individual or organization seeking a motivational speaker."
JoAnn Kirkland, Owner & President, Kirkland Consulting

"Lori-Ann’s presentation provides a gritty look at the struggle of an athlete to achieve the ultimate goal. She opens up her inner life like no one else before her and because of it reveals the heart of a true champion."
Mark Connolly, CBC Sports

"Ms. Lori-Ann Muenzer's story is an inspiration to those who think they cannot achieve greatness, or that they have passed their prime. She is as strong-willed as the steel she rides. Jump on, hang on and enjoy the ride!"
Deb Grey, former MP and author of Never Retreat, Never Explain, Never Apologize

"We’re proud that Lori-Ann has shared with Canadians not just the accomplishments that brought her to the pinnacle of her sport, but the obstacles and personal sacrifices that defined her journey. Her story inspires all individuals on their personal road to excellence."
Don Lowry, President & CEO, EPCOR
Business, Finance & Legal
ATB Investor Services
Certified Management Accountants of Alberta
Field Law
SERVUS Credit Union
Women’s Business Blaster
Young Entrepreneur Organization

Retail, Industrial & Food Services
Cohos Evamy
Construction Specifications Canada
Hudson Bay Company
Oilsands Industrial Services Ltd.
OLYMEL Food Servcies

Medical, Health & Wellness
Alberta Association of Registered Nurses
Alberta Employment and Immigration
Aspen Regional Health
Capital Health Authority
College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta
Downtown Business Association Wellness Session
Health Boards of Alberta Conference
Ontario Chiropractic Association

Media & Communications
Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC)

Real Estate
Westcorp Properties Inc.

Community & Education
Alberta Distance Learning Centre
Association of School Business Officials Alberta
Greater Edmonton Teachers’ Convention
Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta & NWT
Sangudo & District Economic Development
St. Albert Youth Community Centre
University of Alberta

Government & Non-Profit
Canada Post
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Olympic Committee
Correction Officers & Correctional Services Workers
Drug & Achohol Council for Safe Alberta Workplaces
Edmonton Drug Treatment & Community Restoration Court
Glenora Rotary Club
Gold in the City Fundraiser
Gold Medal Plates
InMotion Network
United Nations Association of Canada (Edmonton)

Sports & Entertainment
Gateway Casinos
Mud Sweat & Gears
Ontario Cycling Association
Queen City Kinsmen Gymnastics Club
Royal Glenora Club
Skate Canada – Alberta, NWT & Nunavut
Special Olympics Alberta
United Cycle
University of Alberta Sports Wall of Fame
Western Canada Summer Games
World Masters Games 2005

Technology
Building Tomorrow Today Conference
GE Canada
IBM
SAS Canada

Agriculture & Utilities
ATCO Pipelines
Cargil Agriculture
EPCOR
Telus