You can google her name and many of her accolades can be found, along with some of her races and photos of her international travels while competing for Penn State and Team USA.
A little over 30 years ago Bridget was born to my friends Rosalie and Tom Franek. My husband and I actually went over to the hospital the day she was born to ooh and ahh over this tiny little bundle, their first born, and celebrate with them this joyous occasion (brother Joshua came along a couple years later). She's always been a great and thoughtful kid, and I have been amazed and inspired by her "story" throughout the last 15 years she's been competing.
So how did that tiny little bundle of "flesh and blood" catapult herself into the world of field of Track and Field only 16 years later? With sheer perseverance, grit, and her passion of the "pursuit of personal potential." When she glides down the track her fists pump like iron (like her Momma) and her face projects nerves of steel (like her Daddy). She also has a terrific support system which is her family, but also many friends throughout the world that have been her cheerleaders from the very beginning.
I can go on about Bridget being a 6-time Ohio State T&F Champion (including when she won 4 events in 2006: 800m, 1600m, 3200m and 4X800m); or that she is one of the most highly decorated athletes ever to grace the Penn State campus, or that she placed 12th at the 2012 London Olympics in the 3000m Steeplechase (her PR being 9:29), plus other international track meets; but it's her pursuit of excellence in anything she does; not only on the track.
That's what make Bridget "tick" - the relentless pursuing of her own potential, but now, coaching at the University of Akron, and instilling this same thought pattern into her athletes; almost believing in themselves before they believe in themselves. Her college coach believed in Bridget too, before Bridget actually did, but once she had her "aha" moment, she never looked back, and boy, did she take off! Growing up in a competitive family (all for fun), Bridget shared with me that she sincerely enjoys seeing how far she can push herself, always trying to realize her full potential in anything she does or touches, and this just fascinates her. (Well, me too!)
Bridget Franek has gone full circle; from student, student athlete, Olympic and World athlete to Coach Bridget. She noted that she is truly enjoying her new role as a coach because she loves to embrace the positive in molding young and impressionable collegiate women both on and off the track. Although challenging at times, coaching has been very rewarding (instant results on who crosses the finish line when) that she maintains with her athletes that the "process of becoming a good runner" is transferable in everything else in life." I couldn't agree more! The University of Akron is so lucky to have Bridget on their coaching staff!
When this former prom queen who was also in the marching band is not running or coaching, you may find her at her stove, whipping up delicious meals, or hiking and traveling, or hanging out with her family and friends. Bridget loves to learn new things and her go-to for learning right now is listening to podcasts. And for the second week in a row in #celebratingothers, Bridget's favorite color is PINK! The darker the better...like fuschia (my favorite too!).
I hope we can all learn from Bridget in her mantra of "pursuit of personal potential." I am going to try everyday too!
BSoleille! The bright side of #celebratingothers with Bridget Franek
Photos from Bridget:
|Bridget and her family; Josh, Tom, Rosalie (btw, Bridget won the women's national division of the Warrior Dash)|
|Bridget's extended family and world's biggest fan club!|
|Coach Bridget with her charges|
|Coach Bridget and the University of Akron ladies Track Team|
|In Amsterdam with FanFriends; Mona Koehler and Jodie Smith|