This is the story of an athletic prodigy. It’s also the story of heartbreak. And a hero that became a friend.
Meet John Moffet.
His journey begins at 11. To keep him out of trouble, John’s parents enroll him in swim lessons. Mere weeks later, it was clear he was special.
Within a year, John was obliterating national age group records. By 16 he made his first Olympic Team, becoming the youngest male athlete on the entire U.S.A. squad. But America would boycott the 1980 Moscow Games, robbing John and so many athletes of the opportunity to share their gifts on the world’s largest stage.
Four years later, John ascended the starting blocks at 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games as the world record holder and gold medal favorite in his specialty — the 100m breastroke. But a severe groin injury suffered in a preliminary heat would once again crush his dreams of Olympic glory.
It’s a story well told in Bud Greenspan’s Olympic documentary 16 Days of Glory — a legendary filmmaker who would later become John’s mentor in his subsequent career as a storyteller. It’s a career that began humbly in the pioneering days of reality television and would ultimately lead to John taking home three 3 Emmys as an executive producer of The Amazing Race.
John’s latest creative pursuit is Sports, Life, Balance — a new podcast about the many timeless lessons learned through sport and their transformative application to all areas of life. Launching on Thanksgiving, check out the teaser on Spotify and subscribe — this one’s worth it (I’ll share the link when it goes live on Apple).
“My life was transformed not by going to the Olympic Games, but by the desire to go to the Olympic Games. That facet of life is available to anyone.”
– JOHN MOFFET
As a daydreaming adolescent swimmer, god-like photos of John ripped from the pages of Swimming World magazine adorned my bedroom wall. So it was utterly surreal when my path delivered me to Stanford. The opportunity for this bright-eyed, 17-year old freshman to call John my teammate was a dream come true.
And such began a friendship we have maintained for the last thirty-five years.
This is a conversation about what happens when desire meets deeds. It’s about determination and perseverance. The power of storytelling. The importance of reinvention. And the courage to blaze your own unique path.
It’s also a rundown of Olympic trials and tribulations — and the conglomerate of raw and historic athleticism that was the hallmark of Stanford in the mid-1980s.
Packed with life lessons acquired by dint of John’s extraordinary athletic and professional career, it’s a master class on how to keep pushing when it matters most. When it’s okay to let go. And why aspiration is the master of destination.
One of my oldest and dearest friends, I love John and everything he is about. So it’s a long-overdue honor to share his story with you today. May you see in him what I always have.
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- Connect with John: Instagram | Linkedin
- Podcast: Sports, Life Balance (Spotify)
- New York Times: John Moffet Olympic Profile
- Esquire: How To Navigate The Next Few Weeks With Grace by Rich Roll
- Los Angeles Times: John Moffet Millennium Hall of Fame
- IMBD: John Moffet
- YouTube: 16 Days of Glory
- YouTube: 16 Days of Glory (Moffet excerpt)
- Emmys: John Moffet
- LA Times: Swimmer Churns Along New Path
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Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering and show notes; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics; portraits by Ali Rogers and Davy Greenberg; and theme music by Tyler Piatt. Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis.
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