Whatever you do, don't do it halfway.
I think track is still one of the most exciting participant sports, but we haven't been able to capitalize on that excitement through television and the print media.
My participation in the Art of the Olympians is a natural extension of my athletic career. I find creating a piece of art in many respects mirrors my long jumping efforts illustrating that hard work and inspiration will always be the foundation for success.
In Jamaica High School in New York, my coach was Larry Ellis, and he said I could probably make the Olympic team. He gave me something to shoot for.
Basketball is big stuff in New York. If you're good in it, everybody respects you. Nobody would want to ruin your shooting eye or your shooting arm.
When you can't read or write at 14 or 15, in most cases you're headed for trouble, and trouble was finding me.
I've found that there's a lot to invigorate in any country or destination - it's all about how you look at it. I've never really had any difficulties anywhere I've been. As an athlete, I used to enjoy being on the road and meeting people.
Sometimes when you've reached a peak experience, you look for other peak experiences... I'd always been interested in art. I was looking for other experiences outside of sports. Art was a form of expression I had always liked a great deal.
I had to get beat to understand how to win.
I always look back at when I didn't have a dream, when I didn't have a spirit. I didn't know what the Olympics was all about. I was just hanging out on the street. I was not humble. I was not a nice person, doing things that were socially unacceptable.
I like to listen to my iPod and also play music. I've been doing percussion since I was eight or nine. Rhythm is crucial in long jump but also in life.
I'm Chief Executive Officer at Art of the Olympians Museum in Fort Myers, Florida, which was founded by my Mexico City teammate Al Oerter and his wife Cathy in 2005. It shows that Olympians can have another life; we have got art from more than 100 Olympians.
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