NATCHITOCHES, La (KMSS/KTAL) – One look at Hollis Conway, and you see his bright, infectious personality. If you get to know him more, you’ll also see his two Olympic medals. However, it wasn’t always all smiles.
“Ignorance, joy, wonder, excitement, disappointment, the whole gamut, I’ve experienced it,” said Conway.
Growing up in Shreveport, things weren’t easy for the Conway family as they struggled to make ends meet. Hollis s turned to sports as an outlet, and realized sometimes you need to fail to reach success.
“I wanted to be an inside linebacker,” said Conway. “Be the next mean, Joe Greene. But, I got cut. I went out for basketball, and I got cut.”
But those rejections led Hollis to track and field, as well as the Olympics. At the 1988 Games in Seoul, Conway won silver in the high jump. Four years later, he won bronze in Barcelona. However, Conway came home with a lot more than just the medals.
“You have the world there, from different countries, different languages,” said Conway. “From major powers to developing countries. We were all there. We were one big family with one idea…to compete and give it our best. I really learned that we may not look the same, we may believe different things, come from different places, but we need to love each other.”
Conway, now a motivational speaker, is taking the lessons he’s learned and using them to inspire the next generation.
“I bring my medals with me everywhere, and I just pass them out in the audience,” said Conway. “I can’t remember who, but somebody told me that one touch could be a paradigm shift in the life of a young person. Begin to believe that anything is possible. It’s my way of maybe giving back a little bit of what’s been given to me.”
From humble beginnings to jumping eight feet in the air, Conway truly proves that no matter how high the obstacle, you can overcome it.