Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on September 1st, 2015
Siphiwe Baleka: How 8/10's of a second dramatically changed his life.

Siphiwe Baleka
Siphiwe Baleka  

At the start of the 1990's Siphiwe, then known as Tony Blake was an outstanding swimmer at Yale University, having won conference championships and setting conference records.

As a sophomore, Siphiwe became the first African American swimmer to make the All-Ivy League Swim Team.

These achievements came from his devotion to swimming since childhood, with endless hours of practice and competitions.

Now Siphiwe was on the brink of attaining his dream:

"I wanted to become the first African American on the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team," he told Fox Sports 1 in 2015.

At a prequalifying event for the 1992 Olympics, Siphiwe competed in the 100 Meter Free Style, his best event.

"This was my best shot, my last shot to qualify."

But Siphiwe missed qualifying by 8/10's of a second!

"And I knew that [Olympic] quest was over. I was heartbroken."

What happened next was striking:

(story continues from "Read More")

Using pills, Siphiwe attempted suicide, and wound up in the Yale Psychiatric Ward.

Subsequently, he rejoined the Yale swim team for his senior year, and Yale won the Ivy League championship.

Three days after Yale won the championship; Siphiwe dropped out of school without graduating and for the next 15 years, wandered the world.

While in Africa, Tony Blake became Siphiwe Baleka.

Eventually Siphiwe returned to Yale to earn his degree, sleeping in the swim team locker room because he didn't have the money to pay for student housing.

After graduating, Siphiwe began an unusual career for an Ivy League graduate; he became a truck driver.

"I love truck driving," he told Fox Sports 1. "You're seeing America. You feel free."

But as a truck driver, Siphiwe began putting on weight. And he saw that many truck drivers are obese.

"Truck drivers are dying 10 " 15 years earlier than the average North American male," Siphiwe said. And he decided to help himself and other drivers by creating exercise routines that could be done during 15 minute breaks, or while the trucks were being unloaded.

Thousands of drivers have now used his exercise routines

Siphiwe Baleka
Siphiwe Baleka  

"I want to revolutionize this industry. I want to make the unhealthiest occupation in America one of the healthiest."

And one other thing: After being away from competitive swimming for nearly 20 years, Siphiwe at 40 returned to compete in the Masters Nationals and was victorious in two events.

He was again a swimming champion, but this time after becoming a champion in life.

Success Tip of the Week: Be open to wherever life's journey takes you, as you grow spiritually on this path.

Editor's Note: To learn more, please see this compelling 7 minute, 32 second video https://vimeo.com/119291674 Thank you to my son Kyle for sharing this video with us and for suggesting today's story.

In the next KazanToday: The father of modern surgery.

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Memorable Quotes

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