Think back to the year 1988 – The Hubble Space Telescope was launched to explore deep space. A bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland. A gallon of gas cost 91 cents a gallon and 24 cents bought you a postage stamp. Rainman, DieHard and Crocodile Dundee ruled at the box office. George H.W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis to serve as our nation’s 41st president. And, Butch Reynolds became the fastest man in the world during a 400m race in Zurich, Switzerland.
Reynolds ran an unbelievable time of 43.29 seconds, almost a full second faster than Lee Evans’ record set at high altitude in the 1968 Olympics. The summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, followed just a few weeks after the world record setting run and Butch was proud to honor his country by bringing home an individual silver medal in the 400m race and a gold medal in the 4x400m relay. Over the next few years, he excelled in the ‘93, ‘95, and ‘97 World Championship Games, earning five gold medals, two silver medals and one bronze. His 4x400m team’s time of 2:54.29 minutes at the ’93 World Championships has been the world record for the last 21 years.
Butch grew up in Akron (Bishop Hoban High) and is a proud Buckeye, having graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in education, in 1991.
Reynolds’s Care for Kids Foundation (BRCFK), formed in 1995, offers after-school programs, summer activity camps and mentoring opportunities to students in the Akron school system. In his 2008 State of the City address, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic cited Reynolds’ curriculum for helping reduce suspensions by 65 percent at one elementary school. “It’s challenging, but rewarding to touch people’s lives,” Reynolds says, “and get them on the right track and give hope to kids who didn’t have hope and help kids who had that hope achieve their goals.”
There is still a love affair between Akron and Reynolds. He was a torchbearer through the city for the Olympic flame on its way to the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Conversely, Reynolds often lends his support in Akron to events, such as being the speaker at the National & Global Youth Service Day banquet or taking part in a Thanksgiving Day run/walk for the homeless. This summer, Butch looks forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary of his World Record run on August 17th by spending the day in Akron with the Aeros of the Eastern League, AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. He will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch and then hosting a free kids clinic.
Butch keeps himself busy working with his BRCFK Foundation, hosting and running camps and clinics, making event appearances, conducting motivational speaking for school , colleges and corporations and currently serving as owner of Butch Reynolds Speed Academy here in Columbus. His comprehensive approach to speed and speed training makes him unique. “I will not teach (an athlete) how to throw a football or swing a bat, I won’t even teach an athlete how to run track, but I will show them how to be a better athlete. The faster you are the better athlete you will be.” He teaches the importance of proper diet, hydration, and sleep. Proper form and technique. He also stresses creating balance in your life by reading and participating in activities outside your sport, because he says winning is 10% physical and 90% mental.
Butch is also the Speed Coach for the USA Tiger Rugby team. “I am enjoying my time with USA Rugby. Speed and agility training will help them become faster, quicker players.” It is a fairly new sport here in the states, so he is very excited to have the opportunity to help them become even better athletes and make a mark on the international stage at the Olympic Games.
He continues to work with High Schools training their athletes in every sport as well as working with elite college athletes preparing them for combines to enable them to reach the next level. Via video analysis and the internet, Butch also is able to train athletes all over the world.
“Speed gets you noticed more than any other athletic ability you might have, no matter what your sport.” He trains young athletes at Next Level Fitness in Gahanna and helps them to choose the right path, both mentally and physically.
He has five “Starting Blocks” for success:
- Conflict Resolution
For those young athletes, Butch preaches the importance of aligning with the right people. “As an athlete” he said, “it is difficult to ignore all the noise around you, people trying to recruit you, audiences cheering or not cheering. You have to block all that out in order to succeed. When you have better people in your circle, you can be your best!”
What is next for Butch? He intends to launch “Butch Live” in which he will speak to groups and organizations about his Gold Medal Mind Program. This program stresses the importance of total mind, body and spiritual health and explains how to positively achieve that balance. He will share his personal story of growth through unbelievable achievement and adversity. He would also like to devote more time to his Care for Kids Foundation that his wife Stephanie is involved with as well. Butch is committed to spending his retirement in pursuit of helping young athletes (and non-athletes through his foundation), reach their greatest dreams, on and off the field.
In the near future, Butch Reynolds looks forward to competing against other athletes (age 50 and older) for another world record in the 400m race. We’ll certainly be cheering him on! He also looks forward to an expanded banking relationship with the community bankers at Heartland. Race into any one of our 11 Heartland Bank locations to talk with one of our banking experts about becoming fiscally fit!
See you at the finish line!