Devers during her induction to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, 2011
|Full name||Yolanda Gail Devers|
|Born||November 19, 1966 (age 50)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 3 in (160 cm)|
|Weight||121 lb (55 kg)|
|College team||University of California, Los Angeles|
It's a challenge between me and the hurdle, and the hurdle has always won.
It's not what other people believe you can do; it's what you believe you can do.
I have a real passion for children. I always wanted to teach and only became an athlete because my parents told my brother Parenthesis and me that we should use any God-given talent we had.
Looking back, I'm so proud to have gone to five Olympics – I believe only three other Americans have achieved that.
People talk about retiring. I never said that r-word. People though I went away after the Olympic Games. I took time off to do something I've always wanted to be – a mother.
When I write a goal down – and I truly write them down – it becomes a part of me. That's a contract that I sign with myself to say, 'I don't care what happens – I'm going to stay on this path. I'm going to try and see this through; I'm going to give it my best shot, my best effort.'
Sometimes we fall, sometimes we stumble, but we can't stay down. We can't allow life to beat us down. Everything happens for a reason, and it builds character in us, and it tells us what we are about and how strong we really are when we didn't think we could be that strong.
I was diagnosed with Graves' disease, an illness of the thyroid gland. Instead of surgery, I was given radiation treatment.
It's totally different now, traveling to different meets and different cities and actually being able to enjoy the cities I'm in.
In February 1991, I was rushed to the hospital in Los Angeles to have my feet amputated. Three years earlier, I had broken the national 100 meters hurdles record while a student at UCLA and was a favourite for the event at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
In my race, there's 10 hurdles, but in life, there is always a hurdle. There is always something you gotta get over, and it's what you do, you know.
I have to be cautious, have my thyroid levels checked, and as long as I do that, I'm fine.
While receiving radiation treatment for a thyroid illness, I had refused to take beta-blockers – a medication that would have eased its side effects – because they were deemed illegal by the sport's governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations.
It's not what other people believe you can do, it's what you believe.
I don't have a thyroid anymore. I had radioactive iodine treatment, which destroyed my thyroid. I take medication every day.
I was blessed with a long career where I won gold medals for myself and my country. Nothing stands out as a disappointment.
Looking back, I'm so proud to have gone to five Olympics – I believe only three other Americans have achieved that. My true gold medal, though, is my daughter, Karsen, who is 18 months old. And I have a wonderful husband, Mike.
I have a real passion for children. I always wanted to teach and only became an athlete because my parents told my brother Parenthesis (sic) and me that we should use any God-given talent we had.
I am very thankful that I have lived the life I have lived. I am thankful for my Graves' disease, and I tell people, if I had my whole life to live over, I would have it, because it has really made me into the person that I am.
My grandma passed away at 98 1/2 and I want to live to 100. I want to be able to do what I can do even at 100.
People see me now and ask if I'm still running. I may look like I am, but I'm really not. People think I still run every day but I ran for 25 years and I deserve to not do anything but walk or ride the bike with my kids.
A lot of times when I ran, to be honest, I didn't know where I was in the race. So I always was looking up at the scoreboard to say, 'Just call my name to see where I am,' because I tried to have such tunnel vision not to distract myself.
We go old-school during the summer, like swimming or setting up lemonade stands. I try to teach my kids to make their own fun.
I always said a prayer before I ran, and my prayer was to win. My prayer was that God would allow me to run my best on that day, or better than my best. So whatever the outcome is, I have to be satisfied with it if I know I gave it my best effort.
I didn't get nervous when I ran, but I get nervous watching other people now. I root for anybody with a USA on their chest.
I never read my press when I was competing. I never got caught up in what I was doing at that moment.
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.