Many individuals have made their way into the triathlon world to have fun, reach goals, or even compete. Moreover, in some cases we have those few individuals who want to make a difference that are driven not only from their success, but also from their experience from people that are very close and dear to them. This was the case for University of Michigan alum, Andy Potts.
Andy was a six-time NCAA All-American at the University of Michigan in swimming, and on top of that, he was a two-time Big Ten individual champion as well. Needless to say, Andy had accomplished quite a bit in his career, and even participated on the track team in 1999-2000. After college, Andy was still highly competitive, and it was only a matter of time before he found a niche in which he could find an environment to push himself to the limits of his true abilities. In fact, that sport was in triathlon racing. Andy didn’t take much time to make his presence felt in the sport, shortly becoming the only rookie to break into the top 100 world rankings. Not to be overlooked, Andy trained hard and put out a tremendous effort and participated in the 2004 Summer Olympics in the sport of Triathlon. This was all just done within joining the sport in less than 2 years, which is very remarkable. Nevertheless, since then, Andy has had countless numbers of victories and podium finishes, but there has always been more to this man than meets the eye.
While Andy trains hard and competes because he wants to beat the best, in order to be the best, he truly has a big heart that many people may not see. Aside from all the interviews, photo shoots, videos, and even the full spreads in magazines, Andy has always been about family and helping others. Moreover, while training one day, a coach of his had mentioned a newer foundation that had a promising direction and a different approach than all the others. Intrigued, Andy looked more into and contacted Dave Friedrich about the Eleonore Rocks Triathlon team that they were starting, which was to raise money and help the efforts for the Eleonore Rocks Foundation itself. The foundation is based around the structure in which they improve the lives of families that are coping with the emotional battle of their terminally children. Eleonore Rocks provides amazing rocking chairs for these families so that can rock their children during these hard times, and while it may just be rocking, it is actually a soothing time and bonding experience for all. While speaking with Andy, he never really has seen himself as a top triathlete that could just use his name to bring money and awareness to the foundation, rather, through hard work, logging miles, getting the word out in collaboration with the foundation, he said, they could collectively build the foundation into a very effective program that could help many people.
One of the best aspects Andy spoke on about Eleonore Rocks was the fact that it has a wide reach, and yet an individual impact. The impact being, the foundation gives chairs to individual families, so the impact is made on such an intimate level. These families become friends and family, as Eleonore Rocks doesn’t just donate and move on, they always stay in touch and want to ensure they are always updated with new information from the families. To date, the foundation has donated more than 80 chairs to various locations. In fact, the most recent donation that will be taking place next month in February will be at the Denver Children’s Hospital. Moreover, this event will include a nice little visit by none other than Andy Potts. One element Andy has stressed about this foundation is he isn’t the only individual on the team, other athletes make up the team that raise money as well, and he wants to ensure that everyone involved gets the recognition they deserve, especially for the raffle they completed this past fall; which was a tremendous success.
The biggest item anyone could take away from this is the fact that anyone from any area can make a difference, but in this case, Andy just so happens to be from one of the best schools in the nation, the University of Michigan. With that said, 2012 is looking to be an even better year for the Eleonore Rocks Triathlon team as we not only add more people to the team, which includes myself, but the individuals before us have already laid the foundation for us to succeed in a big way. Make sure to check out the foundations Facebook page, and don’t forget to message us on Twitter as well! We will always try to respond to everyone and answer any questions individuals have. Last but not least, we can’t forget about Andy Potts, so make sure to visit his Facebook page and message him on Twitter saying how awesome it was for Michigan to win a BCS game against Virginia Tech, and to salute this Michigan Man on everything he has done as a Michigan Alumni. GO BLUE!
If you have any questions, feel free to message me on Twitter @TheRealHag or email me at josh@umgoblue