Billy Mills speaks to UNCP crowd
up in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation makes it impossible to succeed,
at least that is what Olympic gold medallist Billy Mills heard growing
Mills spoke to a
crowd of around 500 at the Givens Performing Arts Center
Tuesday night, as part of UNC Pembroke's Distinguished
Speakers Series. He talked about what he says is the greatest challenge
in the world, overcoming perceptions. An Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Indian,
he also talked about overcoming perceptions of Native Americans.
perceptions almost broke me," Mills said. "I remember my dad
telling me not to worry about other people's comments."
Mills never has.
Orphaned at age 12, he grew up in one of the poorest Indian settlements
in the nation. He wanted to be a boxer but lost all his matches. He
tried football and was knocked down, so he got up running.
running in high school, winning races, and when I joined the Marine
Corps, I knew I wanted to be in the Olympics," Mills said.
And Mills was stunningly
successful. In the 10,000-meter run of the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, he
came from behind three other runners at the tape to record one of the
biggest upsets in history. He remains the first and only American to
win the Olympic 10k and that record still stands.
a mission who lives up to the values and responsibilities of success
is teaching sacredness to others," Mills said. "Because values
are sacred and sports teach life values."
Mills is a strong
believer in integrity no matter the goal.
empowerment will guide you to your goals," Mills said. "Follow
your values, and you'll achieve your goals for the benefit of yourself
Mills has lived
by that code and shared it with others since his Olympic heroics. He
has carried that message back to the reservation to help his people
After his speech,
Mills stayed to sign autographs, pose for pictures and speak with everyone
who stood in line. Prior to the speech, he taped a 30-minute television
show with UNCP's WNCP-TV.
Lee is the next UNCP Distinguished Speaker at GPAC is February 2 at
to University Newswire