I'm more of a hands-on person. I like working with young people from the standpoint of providing support for the grassroots programs. State, national and Olympic champions begin at a grassroots level.
Quality training is what I do now; before it was a combination of both quality and quantity. Now I'm not trying to be a world-class athlete, I don't need to train at that level. It's about being fit, fit for life.
There are a lot of other people that really play a significant role in helping you become an Olympian.
Competing in both track and field and basketball for the Bruins I have a lot of great memories to choose from. But my all-time favorite moment in collegiate sports has to be in 1982 when we won UCLA's first NCAA title in track.
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 18 during my freshman year at UCLA. I refused to accept it – and I hid it from my coaches and teammates. But ignoring my problem didn't make it go away.
All I ever wanted really, and continue to want out of life, is to give 100 percent to whatever I'm doing and to be committed to whatever I'm doing and then let the results speak for themselves. Also to never take myself or people for granted and always be thankful and grateful to the people who helped me.
I have this burning desire to get out there and do my best. It's as if I'm keeping it all in a little bottle, and it's all going to come out when I do the best I'm capable of doing.
As you grow older and young people come up to you with their history books, you realize that some of the things I have been able to do have been impactful. But for me, I try to keep everything in perspective and stay humble.
People assuming that because I'm a great athlete, I can dance. But no. My rhythm is off a little bit.
I do not take steroids. I never have. It's sad to me that people want to point fingers. I don't do that. That's not me. I wouldn't feel like a human being.
I don't think there is a perfect athlete. But if I had to come close to picking someone who demonstrates all the traits that I feel an athlete should have, I would say the perfect athlete would be Tiger Woods. He has the ability, he's humble and he's very good at what he does.
I always have been trying to work on the other side of Jackie, and that is, making sure that my appearance, that my image, is right; also, working in the job world, knowing how it is to wake up and go to a job.
Some people are embarrassed to say they came from East St. Louis, Ill., but now more people want to claim it. I grew up in a community center and I knew what it gave me. I always knew I wanted to give back and help people because people helped me.
I might attempt Zumba. I haven't yet, but I thought it would be a lot of fun and different.
I love track and field, but I also know the day will come when I will have to do something else.
What people need to know is that asthma isn't a minor 'wheeze-disease.' It kills over five thousand people in America every year, and I could've been one of them.
I'm a realist and I always have been. Quality training is what I do now; before it was a combination of both quality and quantity. Now I'm not trying to be a world-class athlete, I don't need to train at that level. It's about being fit, fit for life.
Your environment doesn't define you. I don't have a lot of money, but I can help train people and I can talk to people. We can all be mentors to the next generation.
We live in a world where sports have the potential to bridge the gap between racism, sexism and discrimination. The 2012 Olympic Games was a great start but hopefully what these games taught us is that if women are given an opportunity on an equal playing field the possibilities for women are endless.
Even though I'm not a competitive athlete, I have to still maintain things and try to keep myself fit because I am at that age where I need to make sure to get those regular checkups and make sure everything is in tact.
Teaching kids about health and fitness is important to me. It's about being fit for life.
Once I leave this earth, I know I've done something that will continue to help others.
People assume that because I'm a great athlete, I can dance. But no. My rhythm is off a little bit.
I really do miss playing basketball. I don't play a lot of pick-up games. But I do like using basketball as a form of cross training.
Winning is great, but being able to finish my last Olympic Games on American soil was very important. Even though I was injured, I didn't let my psyche get the best of me and cause me to doubt myself, so I was willing to pull every muscle in my body in '96 in order to get the job done and I came away with the bronze medal.
The person who talks a lot or talks over people misses out because they weren't listening.
Growing up in the time of Title IX – it was passed when I was 10 – I got a front-row seat to so many great moments in women's sports. Of course I didn't know it at the time.
My passion for giving is no different than yours. I give because it's in my heart to give. I give because I was taught to give at a very early age. This is how I developed my passion for giving.
The 2012 London Olympic Games fostered a generation of hope. I witnessed women participating for the very first time, representing every nation.
Ask any athlete: We all hurt at times. I'm asking my body to go through seven different tasks. To ask it not to ache would be too much.
The London games mark the 24th anniversary of my winning two golds and setting the world record in the heptathlon. Someone is going to want it; records are made to be broken – it's only a matter of time. I hope mine will outlive me.
There are few restrictions on your life with asthma, as long as you take care of yourself.
I learned to listen and listen very well. It helped me athletically and in the classroom as well. The person who talks a lot or talks over people misses out because they weren't listening.
It wasn't until I was 14 and watched the 1976 Olympic games on television that I really started to dream about the big time. I remember seeing Evelyn Ashford in the 100 meters, and she was going to UCLA.
I learned to listen and listen very well. It helped me athletically and in the classroom as well.
I set my sights on making an Olympic team, not realizing how tough it was going to be.
When I was in elementary school, we weren't allowed to do sports other than cheerleading. By junior high, they let us play, but we had to come back after 6:30 p.m. to practice because there was only one gymnasium and the boys used it first.
There are many women who came before me who didn't really have the same opportunities that I have had. That's why I always wanted to be a great ambassador – not only today's generation – but for the women who really didn't have a voice, but who paved the way for me.
My denial and irresponsible attitude about asthma put me at great risk and caused me so much needless suffering. My hope is that the kids I talk to learn to open up about their asthma, become educated about their condition, and seek help.
It's important to me to try and expose young people to the things they believe are off-limits to them. I tell them, 'There are no walls, only the ones we put up.' My advice to young people looking at my life is not to follow my footprint but to go out there and make their own.
When I started competing, you had to have your coach there. Now you can be coached from a home office via Skype or video. That's not the same as having them on the field with you.
I don't think being an athlete is unfeminine. I think of it as a kind of grace.