Retired Olympic athlete to speak about obstacles

When an athlete sets remarkable goals and reaches them, the only other place to go is up. Olympian high jumper Hollis Conway is known for soaring above obstacles in his life and remains successful on and off the track field.

Hollis will be giving a speech titled: “Overcoming Obstacles: Reaching Your Maximum Potential” on Tuesday, Mar. 15 at 1:00 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre.

Conway has won state at Fair Park High School in Shreveport, Louisiana. He then became a college athlete at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he became a six-time NCAA All-American winner and three-time NCAA winner as a track and field high jumper. Conway went on to compete in the Olympics in 1988 when he won a silver medal, and in 1992 when he won a bronze medal. 

“It’s always a great honor,” said Conway. “If you have an opportunity to win and you don’t win, it doesn’t feel as good.”

According to Conway, Department Head of Kinesiology and Health Studies Dr. Edward Hebert helped come up with the idea for him to speak.

“Generally, I speak from my personal experiences and things I’ve seen across the country,” said Conway. “Life is full of obstacles and me being a high jumper, the goal is to get over obstacles.”

According to Conway, he wants audiences to feel inspired and motivated after his speech. 

“What makes the difference is the stories that inspire people,” said Conway. “Inspirational stories motivate people and give them something to relate to.” 

Conway currently works as an area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes of Northeast Louisiana and often speaks at universities, middle schools and high schools.

According to Conway, his decision to build a career in ministry, as an ordained minister, stems from some of his lifelong goals.

“It’s something I’ve been doing all my life,” said Conway. “Lots of schools and groups ask me to come and share. I have a desire to give solutions to some of the problems in the community and I want to be a part of the solution.”

After retiring from high jumping in 2001, Conway has also founded and serves as the president of the nonprofit motivational speaking organization, Overcoming Obstacles Inc.

“It’s another way to give back to the community,” said Conway.

According to Conway, he believes that being successful in both athletics and ministry are similar.

“One of the most important hindrances to people being successful in life is obstacles,” said Conway. “I think the underlying characteristics in being successful in anything is discipline, dedication and focus. You can use those same characteristics in any area of your life. There is no magic formula.”

Conway has also written two books titled, “Yes I Can: Principles of Successful Living” and “Grasshopper: The Hollis Conway Story.

According to Conway, “Grasshopper: The Hollis Conway Story” is a children’s book based on his personal testimonies. He talks about his childhood and dreams in the book.

“It’s very inspirational for kids and lets them know they can be successful,” said Conway.

According to Conway, “Yes I Can: Principles of Successful Living” is a compilation of illustrations and stories on what it takes to be successful. The book includes his life experiences as well as the experiences of people in politics, sports and movies.

Conway remains thankful for his success in both his personal and professional life.

“I’m thankful for God allowing me to live the life I lived,” said Conway. “That includes athletic success and success in my marriage and with my job and children. I’m thankful for the opportunity to give back and my job. Life is about appreciating every aspect of it and the people that helped you.”

The presentation will be free and open to the public, but attendees are encouraged to bring canned food or other items to donate to the Southeastern Food Pantry. 

For more information on Conway, visit his website at www.hollisconway.com.